Dr. William Pollin was a psychiatrist who served as the second director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and as a staff member of the National Institute of Mental Health. He may be best remembered as the person who “declared cigarette smoking was more addictive than alcohol or heroin.”
At NIMH he contributed to early studies which examined pairs of twins to determine the connection between development of schizophrenia and obstetrical complications and various other neurological abnormalities. At NIDA he was one of the key researchers who changed the medical view of tobacco smoking from an unhealthy habit to a diagnosable drug addiction—after which cigarette makers nicknamed him “Doctor Death” to the tobacco industry. Dr. Pollin emphasized supporting family-oriented drug prevention programs and during this time the rate of cannabis abuse in high school children declined.
- “William Pollin”. Microsoft Academic Search. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
- “Why People Smoke Cigarettes“, a statement on cigarette smoking developed from testimony delivered before the U.S. Congress by William Pollin, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse on March 16, 1982 (DHHS, 1983).