It is now clear that tobacco use is a form of nicotine self-admin. istration and that psychological and biological variables interact to maintain this behavior. Overwhelming evidence that nicotine is addicting, however, does not mean that nicotine replacement alone will serve as a magic bullet to stop tobacco use. In light of the many psychobiologic interactions that are involved in tobacco use, psychological and pharmacologic strategies should be used together to treat tobacco dependence. Simply prescribing a nicotine replacement product without treating the behavioral and psychological variables involved in maintaining nicotine self-administration usually fails. Treatments that consider the multivariate aspects of tobacco use are likely to be more successful. In light of emerging evidence that individual differences (including sex and other genotypic differences) are most pronounced in some of the psychological effects of nicotine that contribute to nicotine self-administration, it is these psychobiological effects that must be studied and considered in detail to develop the most effective treatments and prevention strategies to avoid tobacco use.
This votume provides examples of great progress in health psychology over the past 25 years. Understanding of tobacco use and the interaction of psychological and biological variables in nicotine self-administration is a particularly clear example of how multivariate focus on health and behavior problems has resulted in substantial progress that can result in improved health.
The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private ones of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Department of Defense or the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
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