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In a sense the tobacco industry may be thought of as being a specialized, hiigghly ritualized, and stylized segment of the pharmaceutical industry. Tobacco products uniquely contain and deliver nicotine, a potent drug with a variety of physiological effects.

Claude E. Teague, Jr., R.J. Reynolds, Federal Register Vol 60 (155), 1995.

Think of the cigarette pack as a storage container for a day's supply of nicotine … Think of the cigarette as a dispenser for a dose unit of nicotine … Think of a puff of smoke as the vehicle of nicotine … Smoke is beyond question the most optimized vehicle of nicotine and the cigarette the most optimized dispenser of smoke.

William L. Dunn, Phillip Morris, 1972, Federal Register Vol 60 (155), 1995.

Realistically if our Company is to survive and prosper, over the long term, we must get our share of the youth market … Thus we need new brands designed to be particularly attractive to the young smoker … Product image factors (a) should emphasize participation, togetherness, and membership in a group, one of the group's primary values being individuality. (b) Should be strongly perceived as a mechanism for relieving stress, tension, awkwardness, boredom, and the like. (c) Should be associated with doing one's own thing to be adventurous, different, adult, or whatever else is individually valued. (d) Should be perceived as some sort of new experience, something arousing some curiosity, and some challenge. (e) Must become the proprietary “in” thing of the “young” group.

Claude E. Teague, Jr., R.J. Reynolds. Industry documents, Bates #: 502987407–502987418 February 2, 1973.

The custom of smoking dried tobacco leaves spread from America to the rest of the world after European colonization began in the sixteenth century. Given that smoking harms nearly every organ of the body1 coupled with its addictive properties and widespread use, it is a dangerous psychoactive drug. Its effects are soothing and tranquilizing, yet there is also a stimulant action. Physiological and psychological dependence occur, and there are severe withdrawal symptoms and a craving for tobacco that make this among the most refractory of addictions.

People start to use tobacco for several reasons. Many start for social reasons and many young people perceive tobacco use as an attribute of maturity. Nicotine is the psychoactive compound in tobacco. The nicotine is absorbed quickly and reaches the brain within seconds.2 Pharmacological factors interact with stimuli in the social environment (social reinforcers) so that after many thousands of repetitions of inhaling tobacco fumes or inserting tobacco into the mouth, tobacco use becomes firmly entrenched as a part of the tobacco-user's life. Tolerance, the need for increasing amounts to achieve the same physiological response, develops to some but not all effects of nicotine. Many tobacco users who abruptly quit experience a withdrawal syndrome of irritability, aggressiveness, hostility, depression, ...

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