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Treating or Disarming Nicotine Addiction: The Multiple Worlds of Nicotine Replacement from Nicorette Gum to the E-cigarette

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Mark Elam
Publicerad i Paper prepared for the 2015 History of Science Society Meeting, San Francisco, 19th-22nd November
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Språk en
Ämneskategorier Teknik och social förändring, Vetenskapshistoria, Teknik och kultur, Medicinens historia


Nicotine replacement technology emerged in Sweden in the early 1970s informed by two closely entangled scripts of innovation. On the one hand, it was envisioned as medical technology treating tobacco smoking as a disease of addiction. On the other hand, it was presented as dedicated to righting the wrongful drug delivery of the cigarette and disarming what had been shown to be an unprecedentedly harmful mode of drug use. However, not only were these two innovation scripts more or less incompatible with each other, they were also both highly controversial as tobacco smoking had yet to be scientifically and politically confirmed as a drug problem. In addition, as Swedish oral tobacco served as the template for pharmaceutical product development, so the regulatory identity of nicorette chewing gum became the subject of intense and prolonged conflict after its invention. During this conflict the gum was not only advanced as a medical product undergoing clinical testing, but also a ‘good alternative to smoking’ best commercialized by the still state-owned Swedish Tobacco Company. As regulatory conflict gave way to a situation where the market launch of nicorette gum as a medicine or non-medicine was effectively blocked in Sweden, so the eventual global success of the product as a therapeutic device came to depend on international involvement in its further clinical testing. In this way the early history of nicotine replacement technology can be seen as having much to say in relation to current controversy over the hazards and virtues of e-cigarettes.

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