Low-nicotine cigarettes available

A new brand of low-nicotine cigarettes has hit the market in the U.S.

Vector Tobacco is offering smokers a choice of how much nicotine they want "Quest 1" has 17 per cent less nicotine, "Quest 2" has 58 per cent less and "Quest 3" has trace amounts of nicotine.

Quest is sold in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

"The purpose of this product is to help people get to a nicotine-free environment, where they can have zero nicotine in their system," says Bennett LeBow of Vector Group.

Quest doesn't claim to be a smoking cessation product and doesn't make claims that the cigarette has reduced chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer.

The company launched a low-carcinogen product in 2001 which failed on the market.

Vector is backing research at Duke University on how Quest affects a smoker's nicotine intake and addiction to cigarettes.

"Whether it could be used by smokers to consciously wean themselves off smoking remains to be seen, but is worthy of study," says Kenneth Warner, director of the University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network.

Duke University researchers will compare Quest users with a group using the nicotine patch.

Anti-smoking advocates question the need for such a cigarette.

"The reason that most people smoke is that they want their nicotine," says John Banzhaf of the Action on Smoking and Health. "They smoke... because they want that nicotine kick."