Anne Landman's Collection
Motives and Incentives in Cigarette Smoking
Length: 17 pages
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This is the famous Philip Morris (PM) document wherein William L. Dunn, principal scientist and leader of "smoker psychology" programs at PM, exhorts his colleagues to "Think of the cigarette pack as a storage container for a day's supply of nicotine...Think of the cigarette as a dispenser for a dose unit of nicotine...Think of a puff of smoke as the vehicle of nicotine..."
Dunn also summarizes the individual personality traits that distinguish smokers from nonsmokers, saying studies show that smokers have "greater anti-social tendencies, poorer mental health, greater reliance on 'external' than 'internal' controls, [are] more emotional, less agreeable, [have] poorer academic performance, higher incidence of prior hospitalizations...more auto accidents."
In perhaps the oddest part of the paper, Dunn cites psychoanalytic theory that refers to smoking as "pulmonary eroticism," saying in smoking "the lungs have become sexualized and smoking is but another form of the sexual act...."
This document was selected as a Trial Exhibit in Minnesota.
You've heard many explanations for cigarette smoking...I think it appropriate that we list the more commonly proposed explanations here:
1) For social acceptance or ego-enhancement 2) For pleasure of the senses (taste, smell) 3) For oral gratification in the psychoanalytic sense 4) A psychomotor habit for the release of body tension 5) For the pharmacological effect of smoke constituents.
I might mention one other explanation, not because anybody believes it but as an example of how distorted one's reasoning can become when under the influence of psychoanalytic theory. Smoking according to this argument, is the consequence of pulmonary eroticism. Translated, this means the lungs have become sexualized and smoking is but another form of the sexual act.
If one asks the smoker himself why he smokes, he is most likely to say, "It's a habit." If he is intelligent enough, he might be more to the point and say either one of two things: "Its stimulates me," or "It relaxes me." And now we are already deep into our topic....
Most of the conferees would agree...the primary incentive to cigarette smoking is the immediate salutory effect of inhaled smoke upon body function. This is not to suggest that this effect is the only incentive. Cigarette smoking is so pervasive of life style that it is inevitable that other secondary incentives should become operative. The conference summarizer, Prof. Seymour Kety of Harvard, used eating as an analogy. Elaborate behavior rituals, taste preferences, and social institutes have been built around the elemental act of eating, to such an extent that we find pleasure in eating even when not hungry.
It would be difficult for any of us to imagine the fate of eating, were there not ever any nutritive gain involved. It would be even more provocative to speculate about the fate of sex without orgasm. I'd rather not think about it.
As it is with eating a copulating, so it is with smoking. The physiological effect serves as the primary incentive; all other incentives are secondary.
The majority of conferees would go even further and accept the proposition that nicotine is the active constituent of cigarette smoke. Without nicotine, the argument goes, there would be no smoking. Some strong evidence can be marshaled to support this argument:
1) No one has ever become a cigarette smoker by smoking cigarettes without nicotine. 2) Most of the physiological responses to inhaled smoke have been shown to be nicotine-related. 3) Despite many low nicotine brand entries into the marketplace, none of them have captured a substantial segment of the market. In fact, critics of the industry would do well to reflect upon the indifference of the consumer to the industry's efforts to sell low-delivery brands...The physiological response to nicotine can readily be elicited by cigarettes delivering in the range of 1 mg. of nicotine. I hope our English friends who are developing the synthetic nicotineless cigarettes are not going to be too disturbed by all this.
Why then is there not a market for nicotine per se, to be eaten, sucked, drunk, injected, inserted or inhaled as a pure aerosol? The answer, and I feel quite strongly about this, is that the cigarette is in fact among the most awe-inspiring examples of the ingenuity of man. Let me explain my conviction.
The cigarette should be conceived not as a product but as a package. The product is nicotine. The cigarette is but one of many package layers. There is the carton, which contains the pack, which contains the cigarette, which contains the smoke. The smoke is the final package. The smokers must strip off all these package layers to get to that which he seeks...
Think of the cigarette pack as a storage container for a day's supply of nicotine:
1) It is unobtrusively portable. 2) Its contents are instantly accessible.
Think of the cigarette as a dispenser for a dose unit of nicotine:
1) It is readily prepped for dispensing nicotine, 2) Its rate of combustion meters the dispensing rate, setting an upper safe limit for a substance that can be toxic in large doses. 3) Dispensing is unobtrusive to most ongoing behavior.
Think of a puff of smoke as the vehicle of nicotine:
1) A convenient 35 cc mouthful contains approximately the right amount of nicotine. 2) The smoker has wide latitude in further calibration: puff volume, puff interval, depth and duration of inhalation... 3) Highly absorbable: 97% nicotine retention. 4) Rapid transfer: nicotine delivered to blood stream in 1 to 3 minutes. 5) Non-noxious administration.
Smoke is beyond question the most optimized vehicle of nicotine and the cigarette the most optimized dispenser of smoke. Lest anyone be made unduly apprehensive about this drug-like conceptualization of the cigarette, let me hasten to point out that there are many other vehicles of sought-after agents which dispense in dose units: wine is the vehicle and dispenser of alcohol, tea and coffee are the vehicles and dispensers of caffeine, matches dispense dose units of heat, and money is the storage container, vehicle and dose-dispenser of many things.
So much for extolling the virtues of the rod...
- Philip Morris
- Dunn, William L., Jr., Ph.D. (PM Smoker Psychology Principal Scientist 1970s-80s)Principal scientist at PM during the 1970s and 1980s, nicknamed the "Nicotine Kid." Supervised Victor DeNoble, Paul Mele, Carolyn Levy and others. Led "smoker psychology" programs for PM.
- Corporate recipient, Philip Morris