Key tobacco industry documents related to nicotine

Document id: mklj0191 (PDF)    Document date: 1972-04-14    Pages: 9
Document date: 1972-04-14   Type: deposition exhibit   Collection: Philip Morris Records  


In a sense, the tobacco industry may be thought of as being a specialized, highly ritualized and stylized segment of the pharmaceutical industry. Tobacco products, uniquely, contain and deliver nicotine, a potent drug with a variety of physiological effects. Related alkaloids, and probably other compounds, with desired physiological effects are also present in tobacco and/or its smoke. Nicotine is known to be a habit-forming alkaloid, hence the confirmed user of tobacco products is primarily seeking the physiological "satisfaction" derived from nicotine — and perhaps other active compounds. His choice of product and pattern of usage are primarily determined by his individual nicotine dosage requirements and secondarily by a variety of other considerations including flavor and irritancy of the product, social patterns and needs, physical and manipulative gratifications, convenience, cost, health considerations, and the like. Thus a tobacco product is, in essence, a vehicle for delivery of nicotine, designed to deliver the nicotine in a generally acceptable and attractive form. Our Industry is then based upon design, manufacture and sale of attractive dosage forms of nicotine, and our Company's position in our Industry is determined by our ability to produce dosage forms of nicotine which have more overall value, tangible or intangible, to the consumer than those of our competitors.

If nicotine is the sine qua non of tobacco products and tobacco products are recognized as being attractive dosage forms of nicotine, then it is logical to design our products — and where possible, our advertising — around nicotine delivery rather than "tar" delivery or flavor. To do this we need to develop new data on such things as the physiological effects of nicotine, the rate of absorption and elimination of nicotine delivered in different doses at different frequencies and by different routes, and ways of enhancing or diminishing nicotine effects and "satisfactions".

Before proceeding too far in the direction of design of dosage forms for nicotine, it may be well to consider another aspect of our business; that is, the factors which induce a pre-smoker or non-smoker to become a habituated smoker. Paradoxically, the things which keep a confirmed smoker habituated and "satisfied", i.e., nicotine and secondary physical and manipulative gratifications, are unknown and/or largely unexplained to the non-smoker. He does not start smoking to obtain undefined physiological gratifications or reliefs, and certainly he does not start to smoke to satisfy a non-existent craving for nicotine. Rather, he appears to start to smoke for purely psychological reasons — to emulate a valued image, to conform, to experiment, to defy, to be daring, to have something to do with his hands, and the like. Only after experiencing smoking for some period of time do the physiological "satisfactions" and habituation become apparent and needed. Indeed, the first smoking experiences are often unpleasant until a tolerance for nicotine has been developed. This leaves us, then, in the position of attempting to design and promote the same product to two different types of market with two different sets of motivations, needs and expectations.

Document id: pzlj0045 (PDF)    Document date: 1969-00-00    Pages: 13
Why One Smokes
Document date: 1969-00-00   TypeUnspecified   Collection: Marketing to Youth MSA Collection  


We believe smokers to be much more alike than different insofar as their motivation to smoke is concerned. This is our thesis and the conviction underlying our current and projected research program. We believe that the confusion resides in the fact that the smoker, although aware of his response to smoke, is unable to report accurately the nature of his response. He is aware of a pleasurable inner state but beyond that he cannot characterize the state. He has trouble translating the somatic sensations into descriptive words. We believe that all smokers smoke for this vague but pleasant subjective experience; some call it a lift, some call it a relaxation....a rose by any other name is still a rose.

We share the conviction with others that it is the pharmacological effect of inhaled smoke which mediates the smoxing habit.

We have, then, as our first premise, that the primary motivation for smoking is to obtain the pharmacological effect of nicotine.

In the past we at R&D have said that we're not in the cigarette buisiness, we're in the smoke business. It might be more pointed to observe that the cigarette is the vehicle of smoke, smoke is the vehicle of nicotine, and nicotine is the agent of a pleasurable body response.

cigarette -> smoke -> nicotine -> body response

This primary incentive to smoking gets obscured by the overlay of secondary incentives, which have been superimposed upon the habit. Psychoanalysts have speculated about the importance of the sucking behavior, describing it as oraI regression. Psychologists have proposed that the smoker is projectig an ego-image with his puffing and his halo of smoke. One frequently hears "I have to have something to do with my hands" as a reason. All are perhaps operative motives, but we hold that none are adequate to sustain the habit in the absence of nicotine. In product tests, low nicotine cigarettes are repeatedly rejected in preference for higher levels. Intravenously injected nicotine was foundo to be an acceptable substitute for smoking, in a study with 35 smokers (Johnson, 1942).

We are not suggesting that the effect of nicotine is responsible for the initiation of the habit. To the contrary. The first cigarette is a noxious experience to the noviate. To account for the fact that the beginning smoker will tollerate the unpleasantness we must invoke a psychosocial motive. Smoking a cigarette for the beginner is a symbolic act. The smoker is telling his world, "This is the kind of person I am." Surely that there are many variants of the theme, "I am no longer my mother's child," "I am tough," "I am an adventuress," "I'm not a square." Whatever the individuaT intent, the act of smoking remains a symboTic declaration of personal identity.

As for the work with human subjects, interest has been focused largely upon the long term chronic effects of smoke exposure.

Without attempting at this point to establish anything about the relevance of the physiological response to the sought for "pleasure" in smoking, we list below those body changes which have been shown to occur upon inhaling smoke. It is generally accepted that nicotine is in all instances the responsible agent.

  1. Increased pulse rate.
  2. Increased cardiac output and coronary flow.
  3. Vasoconstriction, in arms and legs.
  4. Lowered skin temperature in hands and feet.
  5. Adrenalin released into bloodstream.
  6. Increased blood flow in skeletal musculature.
  7. Reduction in patellar reflex magnitude.
  8. Nerve impulse transmission facilitated through autonomic nervous system.
  9. Arousal center in braim stem excited, causing arousal patterns in the electrical activity of the cortex.
  10. Blood sugar level increases.