In This Article Nicotine Dependence

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Textbooks
  • US Government Documents
  • NonGovernmental Organizations
  • Data Sources

Social Work Nicotine Dependence
Raymond Bolden, Jr., Ann A. Abbott
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 June 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0175


Tobacco use and nicotine dependence pose a great health risk. In particular, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and a variety of cancers resulting in debilitating conditions and death are major health risks associated with tobacco use and nicotine dependence. In fact, tobacco use and nicotine dependence, collectively, have been identified as one of the leading causes of preventable death for all segments of the population. Although tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco are sold legally throughout the United States and in countries around the world, resulting in huge profits by tobacco companies, it is individuals, states, countries, and insurance companies that must shoulder the burden of the resultant health-care costs. The prevalence of tobacco use and nicotine dependence among adults in the United States has been reduced by half since the mid-1960s, from 40 percent to 20 percent. The downward trend has slowed in recent years, however, despite improved treatment strategies for smoking cessation to increase abstinence. Today, those who are young, poor, from minority communities, and who experience mental health and substance abuse are disproportionately likely to use tobacco and become nicotine dependent.

Introductory Works

A major resource for the assessment, diagnosis, and classification of both legal and illegal substances for social workers and other health care professionals is American Psychiatric Association 2000, the fourth edition (text revision) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). This volume is the official manual for diagnosis of mental health problems, including substance use and dependence, in the United States. A revised version, the DSM-5, is scheduled for publication in May 2013 and is expected to change the basic classification system of substance abuse and dependency. This revision will include the proposed reorganization of diagnostic categories from the diagnosis itself to the substances used. For example, the diagnosis “nicotine dependence” is recommended to become “tobacco use disorder.” Levinthal 2012 is a comprehensive introductory text containing the current and critical thinking on drugs, behavior, and modern society, including a chapter on nicotine and tobacco use. The updated classic text on substance abuse and addictive behaviors by Ruiz and Strain (Lowinson and Ruiz’s Substance Abuse) contains chapters written by a wide range of leading experts; among these chapters is Schmitz and Stotts 2011, which details nicotine dependence and tobacco addiction. Coombs and Howatt 2005 is a comprehensive tool for professionals who work with individuals with addictive disorders and dependency. A number of US Surgeon General Reports have been issued since 1964, providing a comprehensive overview of the health problems stemming from tobacco use, together with preventive initiatives designed to curb tobacco and nicotine use. Office on Smoking and Health 2006 details the dangers of secondhand smoke, while Office of the Surgeon General 2012 focuses on current use among young people. Many publications provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse focus on tobacco/nicotine addiction. These include National Institute on Drug Abuse 2010, listed in this section, while others are cited under US Government Documents.

  • American Psychiatric Association. 2000. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th ed. Text rev. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.

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    In this most recent version of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, substance disorders are presented in terms of abuse, dependence, and intoxication. Diagnosis rather than treatment is priority. A new edition, DSM-5 (5th ed.), expected in May 2013, will detail proposed changes related to tobacco and nicotine dependence.

  • Coombs, R. H., and W. A. Howatt. 2005. The addiction counselor’s desk reference. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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    Contains a comprehensive compilation of information about addictive disorders, their consequences, and treatment. This text is a resource document for social workers and other professionals working with individuals dealing with nicotine dependence and other substance disorders.

  • Levinthal, C. F. 2012. Drugs, behavior and modern society. 7th ed. Boston: Pearson.

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    This text examines the impact of drug-taking behavior on society and people’s daily lives. The use and abuse of a wide range of licit and illicit drugs, including tobacco, are discussed from a historical, biological, psychological, and sociological perspective.

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2010. Drugs, brains, and behavior: The science of addiction. NIH 10-5605. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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    Addresses major questions about addiction, emphasizing its profound impact on health, including the role of secondhand smoke.

  • Office on Smoking and Health. 2006. The health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services.

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    A report of the Surgeon General. Offers an in-depth explanation of the health dangers related to secondhand smoke.

  • Office of the Surgeon General. 2012. Preventing tobacco use among youth and young adults: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services.

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    This report, which is the thirty-second report by the Surgeon General addressing the use of tobacco and its effects on health, focuses on current use and strategies for prevention among young users.

  • Schmitz, J. M., and A. L. Stotts. 2011. Nicotine. In Lowinson and Ruiz’s substance abuse: A comprehensive textbook. 5th ed. Edited by P. Ruiz and E. C. Strain, 319–334. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

    E-mail Citation »

    The premier text on substance abuse and addictive behaviors addresses all dimensions of clinical treatment and management. The full spectrum of nicotine dependence and tobacco addiction are provided, including the predictors of nicotine dependence, screening, and treatment modalities, include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

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