William L. Dunn, Jr.

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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

William L. Dunn, Jr. was a Principal Scientist at Philip Morris in the 1970s-1980s. He was nicknamed (unsure by whom) the "Nicotine Kid." Dunn supervised Victor J. DeNoble, Paul Mele, Carolyn J. Levy and others who did behavioral pharmacology research at PM. He led the Behavioral Research Program in 1974 and was the project leader for the "smoker psychology" programs for Philip Morris.

"Bury it" memo

In 1977, a company scientist discussed a proposed research project to determine the addictiveness of nicotine. William L. Dunn in a memo announced that he has given approval for the study, but warns if the results obtained with nicotine "are similar to those gotten with morphine and caffein," then "we will want to bury it."[1]

Dunn's 1972 paper, "Motives and Incentives in Cigarette Smoking"

In a 1972 paper titled Motives and Incentives in Cigarette Smoking, [1] Dunn proposed that smoking was a sexual act, discussing it using the term "pulmonary eroticism." He also described cigarettes as "among the most awe-inspiring examples of the ingenuity of man..."

Dunn wrote,

You've heard many explanations for cigarette smoking ...I think it is appropriate that we list the more commonly proposed explanations here: 1) For social acceptance or ego-enhancement, 2) For pleasure of the senses (taste, smell), 3) For oral gratification in the psychoanalytic sense, 4) A psychomotor habit for the release of body tension, 5) For the pharmacological effect of smoke constituents. I might mention one other explanation, not because anybody believes it but as an example of how distorted one's reasoning can become under the influence of psychoanalytic theory. Smoking according to this argument, is the consequence of pulmonary eroticism. Translated, this means the lungs have become sexualized and smoking is but another form of the sexual act. If one asks the smoker himself why he smokes, he is most likely to say, "It's a habit." If he is intelligent enough, he might be more to the point and say either one of two things: "It stimulates me," or "It relaxes me." And now we are already deep into our topic... .....It would be difficult for any of us to imagine the fate of eating, were there not ever any nutritive gain involved. It would be even more provocative to speculate about the fate of sex without orgasm. I'd rather not think about it. As with eating and copulating, so it is with smoking. The physiological effect serves as the primary incentive: all other incentives are secondary. The majority of conferees would go even further an accept that proposition that nicotine is the active constituent of cigarette smoke. Without nicotine, the argument goes, there would be no smoking. Some strong evidence can be marshaled to support this argument: 1) No one has ever become a cigarette smoker by smoking cigarettes without nicotine. 2) Most of the physiological responses to inhaled smoke have been shown to be nicotine-related. 3) Despite many low nicotine brand entries into the market-place, none of them have captured a substantial segment of the market.... Why then is there not a market for nicotine per se, to be eaten, sucked, drunk, injected inserted or inhaled as a pure aerosol? The answer, and I feel quite strongly about this, is that the cigarette is in fact among the most awe-inspiring examples of the ingenuity of man...[2]


  1. William L. Dunn, Philip Morris Motives and Incentives in Cigarette Smoking July, 1972. Bates No. 1003291922/1939
  2. William L. Dunn, Philip Morris Motives and Incentives in Cigarette Smoking July, 1972. Bates No. 1003291922/1939

<tdo>resource_id=2673 resource_code=dunn_william_l search_term=William L. Dunn, Jr.</tdo>