Dependence on tobacco and nicotine
Karl Fagerstrom | 14 December 2013
We used to believe that nicotine is very dependence producing, but the evidence suggests that there are a number of problems with this statement. For example, animals do not self-administer nicotine as readily as they do other dependence producing drugs such as amphetamine, cocaine, and heroin (Villegier et al. 2003); nicotine is a relatively weak reinforcer in human laboratory studies (Perkins et al. 2001); abstinent smokers seem to prefer a much reduced or nicotine free e-cigarette rather than other - often stronger - nicotine-containing products like gum; and although nicotine replacement treatment is an effective aid for quitting smoking, its efficacy is moderate even in doses that replace most or all nicotine from the cigarettes formerly used (Dale et al. 1995). There is very little to no evidence for the abuse of nicotine when not delivered in a tobacco vehicle.