[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
September 17, 1982

Smoking: Psychology and Pharmacology

JAMA. 1982;248(11):1393. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330110077037

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Ashton and Stepney's Smoking: Psychology and Pharmacology is the most comprehensive, integrated, and current account of research and theory pertaining to tobacco smoking. It is concise, readable, and quite entertaining and presents a complete discussion of the many complex aspects of an extremely pervasive habit, including the psychological, pharmacological, and social underpinnings of smoking behavior.

Ashton and Stepney begin with a cogent statement of the research and clinical problem: "How is it that nearly half of the adult population regularly performs a bizarre act... an act which is acknowledged, even by its adherents, to be harmful to health and even distasteful?" After providing an appropriate historical context, the authors discuss the importance of nicotine as a reinforcer maintaining the smoking habit. Indeed, their overall perspective is pharmacologic, based on the hypothesis that cigarette smoking is a form of nicotine dependence.

While citing the relevant evidence supporting this view, the book