SRNT is the only international scientific society dedicated to fostering and disseminating research on tobacco and nicotine treatobacco.net logo Society for the Study of Addiction
Search treatobacco.net
* see translation disclaimer below
Some key links


Important Diagnostic Publications



Two of the most widely used classifications of substance dependence, the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD 10; WHO, 1992) and the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V; APA,  2013), define tobacco dependence/tobacco use disorder and associated withdrawal as substance use disorders. This official recognition of smoking as a dependence is important for encouraging governments to offer treatment to smokers.
The more common term used to describe substance use disorders is addiction and this terminology was used in The Royal College of Physicians 2000 report when discussing tobacco and nicotine: "It is reasonable to conclude that nicotine delivered through tobacco smoke should be regarded as an addictive drug, and tobacco use as the means of nicotine self-administration." (Royal College of Physicians, 2000, page 87).

In fact, all leading experts and public health organizations in the US and the international community with expertise in tobacco or drug addiction now recognize that nicotine is addictive (e.g. USDHHS, 1988; RCP, 2000). It is the nicotine in tobacco products that sustains tobacco use and makes it difficult for many smokers to stop smoking even when faced with serious medical problems. Cigarette manufacturers have exploited this weakness and capitalized on the known addictive nature of smoking in order to profit by selling their products to consumers (e.g.  Hurt & Robertson, 1998).

Of note, the newest version of the DSM (version V, 2013) incorporates nicotine into the “Tobacco Use Disorder” section, which combines substance abuse and substance dependence into a single disorder measured on a continuum from mild to severe.



American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5 th edition. Washington: American Psychiatric Association. 2013.

Hurt RD, Robertson CR. Prying open the door to the cigarette industry’s secrets about nicotine – The Minnesota Tobacco Trial. JAMA. 1998; 280: 1173-1181.

Royal College of Physicians. Nicotine Addiction in Britain. A report of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. London: Royal College of Physicians. 2000.

US Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking: nicotine addiction. A report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. 1988.

World Health Organization. The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders. Geneva: World Health Organization. 1992.

treatobacco.net logo
Home | Sitemap