M.A.H. Russell

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

M.A.H. Russell was a nicotine researcher who worked for Maudsley Hospital and the Addiction Research Unit in the Institute of Psychiatry in De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, in the United Kingdom. [1] He has published a large number of papers on a wide variety of aspects of smoking, and was convinced about the importance of nicotine in cigarette smoking and have worked extensively an the subject.

Dr. Russell made the famous statement that

There is little doubt that if it weren't for nicotine in tobacco smoke, people would be little more inclined to smoke than they are to blow bubbles or light sparklers."

He also noted that no population has been known to give up tobacco after being introduced to it, and that the use of tobacco has survived various forms of official disfavor and penalties ranging from decapitation to excommunication.

Russell noted that tobacco is never ingested, but instead is taken in ways that allow nicotine to bypass the liver and enter the brain in its active form. Russell often quoted the results of experiments in which monkeys and rats learned to self-inject nicotine, as evidence for the importance of nicotine as a drug of dependence. He has said that animals most be either rewarded with something pleasant or threatened with something unpleasant, before they can be trained to do anything.[2]

Sourcewatch resources

External resources


  1. Wiley Interscience Data Note—4. Sales-weighted Tar, Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide Yields of U.K. Cigarettes: 1985, accessed April 16, 2009
  2. A. Kay Comer, British-American Tobacco Company Limited Defense on Cigarette Smoking - A Review: Report No RD 1532 Report with chart and tables. December 15, 1977. 191 pp. Bates No. 105458896-105459085