Nicotine works by pain of withdrawal rather than pleasure of reward

Wednesday 06 May 1998

ASH/ Press releases/


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Press release6 May 1998 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health


Nicotine works by the pain of withdrawal rather than the pleasure of reward

Research published today in Nature helps to explain why nicotine is soaddictive, even though it doesn’t produced such powerful stimulation as cocaine orheroin. The secret of nicotine addiction is that it gives particularly strong negativeeffects when the smoker is deprived.

Clive Bates, Director of ASH commented: “This adds weight to the theory of smokingas a treadmill. Stay on the treadmill and nicotine will keep the withdrawal at bay, buttry to get off and you suffer craving, irritability and stress.”

“Contary to the tobacco industry’s view of the pleasure of smoking, it seemsto be more about avoiding the pain of withdrawal.”

“We often hear that smoking is a ‘crutch’ for those with unhappy livesand gives them some pleasure, but that explanation is wrong. Smoking actually createscreates the cravings and then releases the smoker.”






Contact Clive Bates, Director (020) 7739 5902
Amanda Sandford, Communications Director (020) 7739 5902
Pauline Doyle, Press Officer (020) 7739 5902 or 0171 249 2363 (hm)

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