The Real Cause Of Tobacco Addiction – Cigarette Additives

Tobacco Addiction
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What is the real cause of tobacco addiction?

You, along with many, may think the cause of tobacco addiction is nicotine. 

A recent study at Harvard suggests otherwise.

There has been ongoing discussion over the alleged addiction qualities of vaping technology as compared to the traditional, combustible cigarette.

The confusion seems to span from the related definitions of tobacco and nicotine. Despite what you may have heard from many publications and anti-tobacco lobbyists, the two substances have many substantial differences.

Those who think that nicotine and tobacco are synonymous have been severely misled.

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A recent study at Harvard uses the definitional differences of tobacco and nicotine as the foundation for a comprehensive study of tobacco addiction.

Dr. Hillel R. Albert of Harvard University led a team of scientists in a study that focused on the pyrazines in traditional cigarettes rather than the concentration of nicotine.

Pyrazines are just a scientific description of the thousands of chemical additives that are found in cigarettes but not found in most e-liquids.  

The Harvard Pyrazine Study produced results that shake up the long-held belief that nicotine’s addictive properties are the main factor in what keeps people drawn to cigarettes.


Interestingly, the study’s abstract states that pyrazines weren’t always a common ingredient in tobacco products.

The introduction of pyrazines started with the trend of “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes that seemed hip to the smoking community. Funnily enough, this introduction was right around the period in history when President Clinton began his so-called “War on Tobacco”.

In Clinton’s Health Plan introduced in 1993, he implemented massive sin taxes on the tobacco industry. While the taxes spiked by as much as $1 per pack, this was still less than the 73% sin tax on tobacco in Europe in the 90s and still climbing.

As tobacco prices soared around the world, the tobacco industry had a major problem on their hands.

How did the get people to keep smoking despite surging prices and scientific evidence coming out against smoking? They increased the number of addictive pyrazines and chemical additives in cigarettes.

Dr. Alpert’s team sought to prove the addictive qualities of pyrazines, with emphasis on comparisons to nicotine.


Unable to rely on locating packs of differently branded cigarettes spanning back 25 years or more, Harvard turned to reliable, previously published scientific literature on the basis of the study. This literature in combination with data published by Big Tobacco led them to their findings.

The study tells us that, “Tobacco manufacturers developed the use of a range of compounds, including pyrazines, in order to enhance ‘light’ cigarette products’ acceptance and sales. Pyrazines with chemosensory and pharmacological effects were incorporated in the first “full-flavor, low tar” product achieving high market success. Such additives may enhance dependence by helping to optimise nicotine delivery and dosing and through cueing and learned behavior.”

Essentially, the pyrazines act as receptors for the nicotine to react in your body differently. Pyrazines enhance the nicotine intake, causing your body to think it needs more and cueing receptors through the learned behavior of smoking.

[Tweet “Is #nicotine really the catalyst for addiction, or is it the #pyrazines?”]
The results of this study are positive for the vaping community because most of the premium e-liquids on the market are pyrazine-free. Most e-liquids (including Veppo) only consist of four ingredients – water, flavoring, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, and nicotine.

The results of the Harvard study open a whole new door to the understanding tobacco addiction.

It’s not the nicotine that fuels your body to expect more nicotine. The culprit is the chemical additives in cigarettes – the true source of fuel for tobacco addiction!


The Harvard Pyrazine Study concluded that pyrazines and other ingredients with chemosensory effects promote addiction by acting synergistically with nicotine; thus increasing product appeal, easing smoking initiation, discouraging cessation and promoting relapse.

Should this be regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration?

Nicotine itself has little addictive properties, has no conclusive evidence showing any relation to cancer, and is found in a wide variety of plants and vegetables including tobacco, potatoes, and tomatoes.

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When is the last time you ate a tomato and thought, “I NEED another one of those RIGHT NOW”?

Most likely never, despite tomatoes having a low concentration of nicotine.

We recently wrote this article that helps to break down a nicotine compound, showing its uses and potential benefits.

We’d love to hear what you think about the Harvard Study.

Let us know your thoughts on tobacco addiction, nicotine, the Harvard pyrazine study or anything else vape related on our Facebook page.

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Gina King is the brand manager for Veppo International, the leading brand offering a robust selection of vape pen vaporizers, e-liquid and e-cigars. Over the past 6 years, Veppo has provided more than 108,000 customers a friendly alternative to cigarettes. More info at

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