Chain smoking

Packs of German-stamped Marlboro cigarettes that can all be consumed in a single day by a single chain smoker, or one who constantly smokes

Chain smoking is the practice of lighting a new cigarette for personal consumption immediately after one that is finished, sometimes using the finished cigarette to light the next one. It is a common form of addiction.[1]



The use of cocaine with cigarettes can result in chain smoking.[2] Many people chain smoke when drinking alcohol because alcohol potentiates nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, leading to re-sensitization and hence inducing a craving.[3]

The extent to which chain smoking is driven by nicotine dependence has been studied. It does not seem that the amount of nicotine delivered is a significant factor as the puff volume correlates poorly with the frequency of cigarette consumption.[4]

Clinical use

Chain-smoking is given as an example of excessive addictive behaviour in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.[5] It may be used as a form of aversion therapy for smokers who are unused to such heavy smoking, inducing them to give up altogether.[6]


Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals claim that an airflow of about 1000 cubic feet per minute per smoker is required to maintain satisfactory air quality when the smokers are chain smoking.[7] However, research confirms that current HVAC systems, while important for general air quality, cannot control exposure to secondhand smoke; smoke levels remain high enough to cause significant harm.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Charles Gerras (1976), The encyclopedia of common diseases, p. 17, ISBN 9780878571130, 
  2. ^ Gary L. Fisher, Nancy A. Roget (2008), Encyclopedia of Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery, p. 194, ISBN 9781412950848, 
  3. ^ Rose J, Brauer L, Behm F, Cramblett M. (2004), "Psychopharmacological interactions between nicotine and ethanol", Nicotine & Tobacco Research 6 (1): 133–44, doi:10.1080/14622200310001656957, PMID 14982697, 
  4. ^ Kolonen S, Tuomisto J, Puustinen P, Airaksinen MM. (1992), "Effects of smoking abstinence and chain-smoking on puffing topography and diurnal nicotine exposure", Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 42 (2): 327–32, doi:10.1016/0091-3057(92)90535-N, PMID 1631188 
  5. ^ Helen Keane (2002-05), What's Wrong with Addiction?, p. 100, ISBN 9780522849912, 
  6. ^ James Cocores (1991-07-23), The Clinical management of nicotine dependence, ISBN 9780387974644, 
  7. ^ Brian Allan Rock (2006-01-13), Ventilation for environmental tobacco smoke, p. 48, ISBN 9780123708861, 
  8. ^ U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006), The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General, p. 92,