Nicotine addiction researcher addresses Dillingham students and community

Nov 9, 2017

Victor DeNoble  has been speaking to students around the United States about nicotine addiction since the mid-1990s, adressing about 300,000 students per year. On Wednesday, he spoke in Dillingham.

Credit Avery Lill/ KDLG

San Diego-based researcher Victor DeNoble was in Dillingham yesterday to talk with students and the community about the science behind nicotine addiction. He spoke to students from third to 12th grade during a school assembly and to the broader community during an evening presentation.

“The takeaway message is that nicotine is a drug. It changes the way a person’s brain works. This is a serious disease,” said DeNoble. “It’s a biological addiction, so I’m trying to get people to understand that this is something that needs to be treated in a very different way than just a habit.

DeNoble’s passion for the topic arises from his background in research for the Phillip Morris Research Center in the 1980s.

“I was hired by Phillip Morris Tobacco in 1980 to remove nicotine [from cigarettes] because nicotine causes heart disease and to replace it with a drug that wouldn’t cause heart disease. We actually found a drug that would do that, and instead of using that drug they buried it, and they fired us. We were silenced for a decade by a secrecy agreement. Scientists want to do things to help people. My decision is to come out here and say, ‘This is what happened. This is the real story. You as a citizen make your own decision,’” said DeNoble.

This presentation on his experiences with the tobacco industry and on the nature of nicotine addiction is one that he delivers to an average of 300,000 students a year around the United States.

Contact the author at or 907-842-5281.