Stephen M. Raffle

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

Stephen M. Raffle, M.D. was a psychiatrist at the University of California San Francisco, and is considered an Industry Expert. Raffle is from Oakland, CA and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, U.C. San Francisco, 350 30th Street, Oakland, CA 64609 in 1994. He believes, and testifies, that nicotine is not addictive.


Dr. Raffle is a psychiatrist who testified on behalf of the Tobacco Institute at March 25, 1994 Congressman Henry Waxman subcommittee hearing to consider U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of nicotine-containing tobacco products. Raffle testified as paid expert on behalf of Philip Morris in the Deskiewicz (WA) small claims case, in June 1993. He said that smoking was a very strong drive but was unlike "real" addictive drugs like heroin or alcohol. He called nicotine addiction a "political decision, made to get people's attention. That is the agenda, to get people to stop smoking." (Seattle Times 6/9/93). Dr. Raffle also testified on behalf of the Tobacco Institute before House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment about Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction, which considered regulation of RJRT's smokeless cigarette 7/29/88.[1]

A specialist in habit forming pain killers, Dr. Raffle says he concluded that nicotine isn't addictive by watching patients. He has never seen them suffer serious withdrawal pains, he says, adding: "Mine's a common sense approach."[2]

On June 23, 1994, Dr. Raffle issued a statement that disputed that nicotine is addictive, stating, "To include cigarette smokers in the group of drug addicts is a dishonest or ignorant mischaracterization of smoking behavior."[3]

Dr. Raffle's recent clinical work has focused on treating chronic pain. He has not conducted nicotine research, but in 1994 he testified for the tobacco industry before a house subcommittee. He says the only tobacco money he receives is his standard expert witness consulting fee. "We are not talking one percent of my time," he says. A nonsmoker, Dr. Raffle says his mother smoked for years before dying of unrelated causes. He is matter of fact about taking a minority position on tobacco, saying his opinion "isn't a opinion of the Surgeon General, let's put it that way." (Tobacco Dream Team: Experts Who Insist Nicotine Isn't Addictive, WSJ 3/23/95)

Dr. Raffle was quoted in a March 23, 1995 Wall Street Journal article titled, "Tobacco Dream Team: Experts Who Insist Nicotine Isn't Addictive."[4]

In 1999, he testified in the lawsuit of Jesse Williams, a Portland janitor who died after smoking Marlboro cigarette for 42 years, that nicotine did not play a part in the plaintiff's inability to quit smoking. Philip Morris lost that case and was ordered to pay $81 million in damages.[5] He also testified in that case that his rate for consulting was "about $250 an hour." He testified that he was paid for his 1988 testimony on behalf of the Tobacco Institute in Washington, D.C., and that the Tobacco Instititute paid for his transportation to the hearings. He also agreed that his name was used by the tobacco industry in a press release that said he was a California psychologist who disagreed with the U.S. Surgeon General on the definition of addiction.[6]

In 2007, Dr. Raffle had a web site that advertised his litigation services and expert testimony:

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