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NIDA Notes Articles: Smoking

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Marijuana Use May Promote Nicotine Consumption

April 2014
Exposing rats to THC increases the likelihood that the animals will later self-administer nicotine. THC-exposed rats are also willing to work harder to obtain nicotine. When extrapolated to people, the findings suggest that THC’s pharmacological impact on the brain may make a person who uses marijuana more vulnerable to developing nicotine addiction, an underappreciated health consequence of marijuana use.

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Menthol May Strengthen Nicotine Addiction

March 2011
Reports on a study of Latino and African-American smokers of menthol cigarettes who did not benefit as much from a month-long smoking cessation program as smokers of non-menthol cigarettes.

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Naltrexone-Nicotine Patch Combination Shows Promise

April 2007
Reports findings from a clinical trial investigating the effectiveness of naltrexone as a supplement to nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation.

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Nanotechnology Powers Smart Skin Patch

November 2011
An in vitro test demonstrates the potential of a programmable skin patch that will enable physicians to tailor transdermal medication doses to match patients' fluctuating needs.

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Neuroimaging Challenges Common Assumption of Public Service Messaging

October 2010
Describes a study of smokers' brain function while they watched antismoking PSAs and findings suggesting that calmer ads may be more effective.

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New Tracer for Nicotinic Receptors Promises Improved Specificity

April 2009
Reports on NIDA researchers who developed a new tracer compound that binds readily to nicotine receptors and enhances positron emission tomography images.

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Nicotine Boosts Mood, Brain Dopamine Levels

November 2009
Highlights findings from a study showing that nicotine triggers a surge in levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain's main reward area for cigarette smokers.

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Nicotine Dependence is Linked With Mental Disorders in Pregnant Women

December 2008
Reports on a link between mental disorders, including mood, anxiety, or personality disorder and nicotine dependence in pregnancy women.

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Nicotine Makes Mouse Brain More Responsive to Cocaine

February 2013
Nicotine sensitizes the mouse brain to the addictive effects of cocaine, according to recent NIDA-supported research. The results accord with the hypothesis that a person’s initial use of an addictive substance physiologically sensitizes his or her brain to the rewarding and addictive effects of other substances. If the findings carry over to people, then preventing youths from smoking might reduce their vulnerability to cocaine abuse and addiction, and cocaine-dependent individuals might ease their path to recovery by quitting smoking.

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NIDA Announces Avant-Garde Medication Development Awards

March 2012
Dr. Thomas Kosten of Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Peter Burkhard of the University of Connecticut are the recipients of NIDA’s 2011 Avant-Garde Awards for Innovative Medication Development Research. Dr. Kosten is developing a vaccine against methamphetamine abuse and Dr. Burkhard is developing a vaccine to counter nicotine addiction.

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