From the Surgeon General to the local doctor it's been "enshrined" that nicotine is addictive.  They say so. They tell you so. You've heard it ever since you can remember.  It must be.  The tobacco executives were forced to concede that it is.

Or are we the victims of one the most successful intentional misrepresentations as part of the war on tobacco?

A Critique of Nicotine Addiction
Hanan Frenk
Dept. of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Reuven Dar
Dept. of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Nicotine is almost universally believed to be the major factor that motivates smoking and impedes
cessation. Authorities such as the Surgeon General of the USA and the Royal College of Physicians in
the UK have declared that nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine. This book is a critique of the
nicotine addiction hypothesis, based on a critical review of the research literature that purports to prove
that nicotine is as addictive drug. The review is based on a re-examination of more than 700 articles and
books on this subject, including animal and human experimental studies, effects of `nicotine replacement
therapies', and many other relevant sources. This review concludes that on present evidence, there is
every reason to reject the generally accepted theory that nicotine has a major role in cigarette smoking.
A critical examination of the criteria for drug addiction demonstrates that none of these criteria is met by
nicotine, and that it is much more likely that nicotine in fact limits rather than facilitates smoking.

Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston

Critics Question Researchers' Motives

From the journal Addiction:  "Another mirror shattered?  Tobacco industry involvement suspected in a book which claims that nicotine is not addictive"  [Click here to read]

Authors Respond

"Another ‘gold standard’ shattered? Re-opening the ‘done deal’ of conflict of interest disclosure" [Click here to read]

Authors Publish Editorial (Unrelated to Addiction criticism)

Nicotine Addiction: Fact or Theory? published in Addiction Research and Therapy [Click here to read]

Nicotine as an Addictive Substance: A Critical Examination of the Basic Concepts and Empirical Evidence
by Dale M. Atrens

Dale Atrens received a B.A. from the University of Windsor, an A.M. from Hollins College, and a Ph.D from Rutgers University. He has held appointments at universities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.  He is currently a Reader in psychobiology at the University of Sydney.  He is the author of several neuroscience textbooks and a number of popular books on diet and lifestyle.

The present review is a critical analysis of the concepts behind and the empirical data supporting the view that tobacco use represents an addiction to nicotine.  It deals with general aspects of the notion of addiction, while concentrating on specific problems associated with incorporating nicotine into current frameworks.  The notion of addiction suffers from unprecedented definitional difficulties.  The definitions offered by various authorities are very different, even contradictory.  Definitions that reasonably include nicotine are so broad and vague that they allow many trivial things, such as salt, sugar, and watching television, to be considered addictive.  Definitions that exclude the trivia also exclude nicotine.  The addiction hypothesis, in general, is strongly shaped by views that certain drugs bring about a molecular level subversion of rationality.  The main human evidence for this is verbal reports of smokers who say that they can't quit.  On the other hand, the existence of many millions of successful quitters suggests that most people can quit. Some smokers don't quit, but whether they can't is another matter.  The addiction hypothesis would be greatly strengthened by the demonstration that any drug of abuse produces special changes in the brain.  It has yet to be shown that any drug produces changes in the brain different from those produced by many innocuous substances and events.  The effects of nicotine on the brain are similar to those of sugar, salt, exercise, and other harmless substances and events.  Apart from numerous conceptual and definitional inadequacies with the addiction concept in general, the notion that nicotine is addictive lacks reasonable empirical support.  Nicotine does not have the properties of reference drugs of abuse. There are so many findings that conflict so starkly with the view that nicotine is addictive that it increasingly appears that adhering to the nicotine addiction thesis is only defensible on extra-scientific grounds.

(NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note:  "extra-scientific grounds" means political and legal considerations)