7 Nicotine Dependence

Health Psychology


  1. Sean P. David MD, SM, DPhil1,
  2. Jennifer B. McClure PhD2,
  3. Gary E. Swan PhD1

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop209007

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

David, S. P., McClure, J. B. and Swan, G. E. 2012. Nicotine Dependence. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 9:III:7.

Author Information

  1. 1

    SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute), Center for Health Sciences, Menlo Park, California, USA

  2. 2

    Group Health Cooperative, Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


Since the previous version of this chapter was published (Swan, Hudmon, & Khroyan, 2003), many advances in the science of nicotine dependence have occurred. Although progress has been significant, nicotine dependence remains a substantial global problem, the solution of which will require sustained effort at the basic, genetic, environmental (individual and macro levels), and treatment levels. In this chapter, we highlight some of the most significant developments in the field of nicotine dependence research over the past 10 years. These highlights include an increased understanding of the role of individual variation in relevant neurochemical and metabolic pathways; the emergence of neuroimaging technologies that further specify areas in the brain that are influenced by environmental cues to smoke; a remarkable series of genetic epidemiological studies that have identified and replicated an association between variation in the CHRN A5-A3-B4 nicotinic gene cluster on chromosome 15 and nicotine dependence; a more complete picture of individual-level variables that influence risk for nicotine dependence, including gender, cultural, and psychiatric comorbidities; the recent development of new assessment tools for nicotine dependence; and a summary of empirically based behavioral and pharmacological treatments for nicotine dependence. We close the chapter with a review of the recent and current macroenvironmental contextual factors in which the science has taken place in the past decade, including the master settlement agreement between the states and the tobacco industry, the impact of continued public health efforts, evidence of the cost-effectiveness of treatment for nicotine dependence, implications of health care reform for tobacco use counseling, the emergence of potential reduced exposure products into the marketplace, and global efforts at tobacco control.


  • smoking cessation;
  • clinical trials;
  • tobacco control;
  • risk factors;
  • neurobiology