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June 8, 1964

The Problem of Tobacco Habituation

Author Affiliations


Dr. Chessick is chief of the psychiatry service at the Veterans Administration Research Hospital, and assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry at Northwestern University Medical School.

JAMA. 1964;188(10):932-933. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060360092021

ACCORDING to a carefully presented argument in chapter 13 of the recent US Public Health Service report entitled Smoking and Health, it is not justifiable to use the term "tobacco addiction" in the strict sense of the term "addiction."1 This does not imply, however, that it is easy to stop the tobacco habit, or that tobacco does not play an important and specific psychological and physiological role in the lives of people who habitually ingest it. The role tobacco plays is important in view of the serious danger to health engendered by the smoking habit, and many attempts are being made nationally to suppress it.

A sympathetic-like constriction of the peripheral vascular bed, increase in blood pressure, and acceleration of heart rate are produced by each cigarette or injection of nicotine.1 These effects occur in smokers, normal subjects, and those with coronary or peripheral vascular disease. No tolerance

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