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Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 Nov;9(11):1119-29.

Internal tobacco industry research on olfactory and trigeminal nerve response to nicotine and other smoke components.

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  • 1Harvard College, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Evidence has shown that factors other than the central pharmacological effects of nicotine are important in promoting smoking behavior. One such non-nicotine effect includes sensory stimulation, which may promote smoking by developing learned associations with nicotine's rewarding effects, or by constituting a rewarding experience independent of nicotine. The present study used internal tobacco industry documents to examine industry efforts to understand and manipulate stimulation of the sensory nerves by tobacco smoke, and the influence of sensory stimulation on smoker behavior. Research focused on sensory nerves of the head and neck, including the olfactory nerve, which carries flavor and odor, and the trigeminal nerve, which carries irritant information. The tobacco industry maintained a systematic research program designed to elucidate an understanding of responses of sensory nerves to nicotine and other components of tobacco smoke, and attempted to develop nicotine-like compounds that would enhance sensory responses in smokers. Industry research appeared intended to aid in the development of new products with greater consumer appeal. The potential influence of sensory response in enhancing nicotine dependence through an associative mechanism was acknowledged by the tobacco industry, but evidence for research in this area was limited. These findings add to evidence of industry manipulation of sensory factors to enhance smoking behavior and may have implications for development of more effective treatment strategies, including more "acceptable" nicotine replacement therapies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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