A review of the effects of nicotine on social functioning.

Many smokers are aware that smoking is a dangerous health behavior and eventually try to quit smoking. Unfortunately, most quit attempts end in failure. Traditionally, the addictive nature of smoking has been attributed to the pharmacologic effects of nicotine. In an effort to offer a more comprehensive, biobehavioral analysis of smoking behavior and motivation, some researchers have begun to consider the role of social factors in smoking. In line with recent recommendations to integrate social and pharmacological analyses of smoking, we reviewed the experimental literature examining the effects of nicotine and nicotine withdrawal on social functioning. The review identified 13 studies that experimentally manipulated nicotine and assessed social functioning, 12 of which found support for nicotine’s enhancement of social functioning. Although few experiments have investigated social functioning, they nevertheless offer compelling evidence that nicotine enhances social functioning in smokers and suggest that nicotine deprivation may hamper social functioning in those dependent on nicotine. Future directions for investigating social outcomes and context in those who use nicotine products are discussed with a focus on leveraging advances in social and developmental psychology, animal research, sociology, and neuroimaging to more comprehensively understand smoking behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)