Re: Nicotine addiction?
First: I am pro vapourisers for smoking cessation
"Show evidence of notable addiction to nicotine in humans without other tobacco smoke compounds involved (as they aren't involved in vaping). You know, the sort of evidence where there's a measurable behavioural response.
No, really. There just isn't any - partially due to their being no appetite for researching it, and partially because until recently, getting nicotine recreationally without smoke being involved (bar Snus) was basically just not on the radar.
Fact remains that the only time you see evidence of anything approaching addiction in relation to nicotine is when tobacco smoke is involved."
There doesn't need to be a behavioural response to show pharmacological addiction - merely a measurable physical response.
I have indeed been searching since yesterday for research into nicotine addiction as well as reading the Frenk & Dar paper. I could find no studies testing nicotine addiction without tobacco.
There are however studies where nicotine free tobacco is used by the control group - Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) gene variant moderates neural index of cognitive disruption during nicotine withdrawal.
More recent studies than those criticised by Frenk & Dar testing the effects of stress on nicotine self administration using rats provide the nicotine directly through a catheter. Whilst not testing addiction or withdrawal, paragraphs in the results of that study and some of those linked suggest to me that nicotine is addictive (in rats at least);
"Consistent with previous reports (O'Dell et al. 2007; Valentine et al. 1997), in this study, most nicotine injections were obtained during the dark phase of the light cycle when rats are most active. However, with very prolonged access to nicotine SA (e.g., 40 days), nicotine intake was reported to be less circadian, and the difference in nicotine intake between dark and light phases diminished"
Due to time constraints I am going to have to assume that any flaws in the 1988 experiments have been addressed in those from1997, 2007 & 2010.
I could find no studies that show there is zero physical response to the withdrawal of nicotine. Since the measurable physical effects can be used to differentiate control and target groups in studies, for the moment I have to consider that nicotine is addictive. I'm not drawing any conclusions about quantifying how addictive.
Now anecdotally; I come from a social group in which almost every body smoked, something like 95% we all loved herbs and delivery methods were less diverse even only a few years ago. A large number of those friends of mine have ditched tobacco totally, with just a few using vapes only in situations they are not allowed to light a cigarette. Of the vape users 1 has reduced his nicotine content to almost zero (mixes his own juice), but loves vaping and doesn't intend to give it up. Only 3 of the others have quit vaping as well. The others that continue to vape have tried reducing the nicotine, but find they simply cannot maintain reduced dose or quit.
I personally found giving up vaping almost as hard as giving up smoking, but yes breaking the habitual rituals of smoking was instrumental and only possible through vaping.
I agree that the habitual aspects of smoking are a major part of the difficulty in giving up smoking, but you cannot at this stage dismiss nicotine as non addictive pharmacologically.
PS in the many studies that do study smoking addiction it is worth noting that the physical response to withdrawal varies quite widely (as with many other pharmacologically addictive substances) so simply because you can easily give it up doesn't make it non-addictive.
PPS as the authors of the report you cited noted. Once you tell someone something is addictive, people use that as an excuse to stop trying to give up. So maybe the truth isn't always the best thing to hear.