Importance of nonpharmacological factors in nicotine self-administration

Physiol Behav. 2002 Dec;77(4-5):683-7. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(02)00918-6.


There is mounting evidence that nonpharmacological factors critically modulate the effects of several drugs of abuse both in humans and experimental animals. This paper reviews research from this laboratory on one factor that influences the degree to which nicotine is self-administered: environmental stimuli that form the context within which nicotine is taken. The results suggest that the direct, pharmacological actions of nicotine are necessary but not sufficient to explain either the high rates of self-administration exhibited by laboratory animals or cigarette smoking by humans, and that future investigations on the neurophysiological effects of nicotine that underlie smoking behavior must take into account the environmental context within which the behavior occurs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / pharmacology*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Self Administration
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*


  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Nicotine