Neal L. Benowitz, MD

Neal L. Benowitz, MD

Professor, Departments of Medicine, Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Psychiatry, and Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF

Phone: (415) 206-8324 (voice)
Box 1220, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-1222

UCSF Profiles

Cancer Center Membership

Program Member » Tobacco Control

Research Summary

I am Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences and Chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at San Francisco General Hospital. With over 500 publications, I am a leading authority on the human pharmacology of nicotine and nicotine addiction. My laboratory also is a leading site for biomarker assessment of tobacco toxicant exposure. I am former president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT), and the recipient of the Ove Ferno SRNT Award for Clinical Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. I have been a contributing author or editor to six US Surgeon General's Reports on tobacco including the 2010 Surgeon General's Report—How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease.


Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY, MD, 1969, Medicine
Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, Bronx, New York, Intern and Resident, Internal Medicine, 1969-1971
Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 1971-1972

Professional Experience

  • 1973-1972
    Clinical Instructor, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco
  • 1975-1972
    Director, Drug Detoxification Unit, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California
  • 1974-present
    Member of Staff, Medical Service, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California
  • 1979-present
    Associate Medical Director, San Francisco Bay Area Regional Poison Center, San Francisco, CA
  • 1974-1982
    Asst. Professor, Depts of Medicine and Psychiatry, University of Calif-ornia San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • 1981-1982
    Assoc. Professor, Depts of Medicine and Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • 1987-present
    Professor, Departments of Medicine, Psychiatry and Pharmacy, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • 1983-present
    Chief, Division Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of California San Francisco
  • 1994-2010
    Vice Chair, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2004-present
    Professor of Medicine, Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco

Honors & Awards

  • Oscar B. Hunter Award
  • Ove Ferno Award
  • 2002
  • UCSF Annual Distinguished Clinical Research Lecturer
  • Rawls Palmer Award for Progress in Medicine
  • Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Health
  • 1994-2002
  • NIDA Merit Award
  • American Board of Internal Medicine (Diplomate, 1968)
  • American Board of Medical Toxicology
  • American Board of Clinical Pharmacology
  • American Federation for Clinical Research (President 1996 to 1997)
  • American Society for Clinical Inves-tigation
  • American Society of Clinical Pharma-cology and Therapeutics
  • American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Association of American Physicians
  • Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (President, 1996-1997)

Selected Publications

  1. Brown-Johnson CG, Oppezzo M, Benowitz NL, Prochaska JJ. "You have the right to protect your health": Perceptions of Secondhand Smoke and Exposure Mitigation Strategies in Low-Income Patients With Heart Disease, San Francisco, 2011-2012. Prev Chronic Dis. 2016; 13:E116.
    View on PubMed
  2. Benowitz NL, St Helen G, Dempsey DA, Jacob P, Tyndale RF. Disposition kinetics and metabolism of nicotine and cotinine in African American smokers: impact of CYP2A6 genetic variation and enzymatic activity. Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2016 Jul; 26(7):340-50.
    View on PubMed
  3. Martin EM, Clapp PW, Rebuli ME, Pawlak EA, Glista-Baker E, Benowitz NL, Fry RC, Jaspers I. E-cigarette use results in suppression of immune and inflammatory-response genes in nasal epithelial cells similar to cigarette smoke. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2016 Jul 1; 311(1):L135-44.
    View on PubMed
  4. Ross KC, Gubner NR, Tyndale RF, Hawk LW, Lerman C, George TP, Cinciripini P, Schnoll RA, Benowitz NL. Racial differences in the relationship between rate of nicotine metabolism and nicotine intake from cigarette smoking. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2016 Sep; 148:1-7.
    View on PubMed
  5. Baurley JW, Edlund CK, Pardamean CI, Conti DV, Krasnow R, Javitz HS, Hops H, Swan GE, Benowitz NL, Bergen AW. Genome-Wide Association of the Laboratory-Based Nicotine Metabolite Ratio in Three Ancestries. Nicotine Tob Res. 2016 Sep; 18(9):1837-44.
    View on PubMed
  6. Anthenelli RM, Benowitz NL, West R, St Aubin L, McRae T, Lawrence D, Ascher J, Russ C, Krishen A, Evins AE. Neuropsychiatric safety and efficacy of varenicline, bupropion, and nicotine patch in smokers with and without psychiatric disorders (EAGLES): a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet. 2016 Jun 18; 387(10037):2507-20.
    View on PubMed
  7. Gubner NR, Kozar-Konieczna A, Szoltysek-Boldys I, Slodczyk-Mankowska E, Goniewicz J, Sobczak A, Jacob P, Benowitz NL, Goniewicz ML. Cessation of alcohol consumption decreases rate of nicotine metabolism in male alcohol-dependent smokers. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Jun 1; 163:157-64.
    View on PubMed
  8. Ross KC, Dempsey DA, St Helen G, Delucchi K, Benowitz NL. The Influence of Puff Characteristics, Nicotine Dependence, and Rate of Nicotine Metabolism on Daily Nicotine Exposure in African American Smokers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Jun; 25(6):936-43.
    View on PubMed
  9. Nelson MD, Rezk-Hanna M, Rader F, Mason OR, Tang X, Shidban S, Rosenberry R, Benowitz NL, Tashkin DP, Elashoff RM, Lindner JR, Victor RG. Acute Effect of Hookah Smoking on the Human Coronary Microcirculation. Am J Cardiol. 2016 Jun 1; 117(11):1747-54.
    View on PubMed
  10. Benowitz NL, Burbank AD. Cardiovascular toxicity of nicotine: Implications for electronic cigarette use. Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2016 Aug; 26(6):515-23.
    View on PubMed
  11. Brondfield M, Wu L, Benowitz N. Minoxidil-Associated Pleuropericardial Effusion. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 Sep; 31(9):1105.
    View on PubMed
  12. Northrup TF, Jacob P, Benowitz NL, Hoh E, Quintana PJ, Hovell MF, Matt GE, Stotts AL. Thirdhand Smoke: State of the Science and a Call for Policy Expansion. Public Health Rep. 2016 Mar-Apr; 131(2):233-8.
    View on PubMed
  13. Nollen NL, Cox LS, Yu Q, Ellerbeck EF, Scheuermann TS, Benowitz NL, Tyndale RF, Mayo MS, Ahluwalia JS. A clinical trial to examine disparities in quitting between African-American and White adult smokers: Design, accrual, and baseline characteristics. Contemp Clin Trials. 2016 Mar; 47:12-21.
    View on PubMed
  14. St Helen G, Havel C, Dempsey DA, Jacob P, Benowitz NL. Nicotine delivery, retention and pharmacokinetics from various electronic cigarettes. Addiction. 2016 Mar; 111(3):535-44.
    View on PubMed
  15. Donny EC, Denlinger RL, Tidey JW, Koopmeiners JS, Benowitz NL, Vandrey RG, al'Absi M, Carmella SG, Cinciripini PM, Dermody SS, Drobes DJ, Hecht SS, Jensen J, Lane T, Le CT, McClernon FJ, Montoya ID, Murphy SE, Robinson JD, Stitzer ML, Strasser AA, Tindle H, Hatsukami DK. Randomized Trial of Reduced-Nicotine Standards for Cigarettes. N Engl J Med. 2015 Oct; 373(14):1340-9.
    View on PubMed
  16. Morris PB, Ference BA, Jahangir E, Feldman DN, Ryan JJ, Bahrami H, El-Chami MF, Bhakta S, Winchester DE, Al-Mallah MH, Sanchez Shields M, Deedwania P, Mehta LS, Phan BA, Benowitz NL. Cardiovascular Effects of Exposure to Cigarette Smoke and Electronic Cigarettes: Clinical Perspectives From the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council and Early Career Councils of the American College of Cardiology. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Sep 22; 66(12):1378-91.
    View on PubMed
  17. Prochaska JJ, Benowitz NL. Smoking cessation and the cardiovascular patient. Curr Opin Cardiol. 2015 Sep; 30(5):506-11.
    View on PubMed
  18. Calfee CS, Matthay MA, Kangelaris KN, Siew ED, Janz DR, Bernard GR, May AK, Jacob P, Havel C, Benowitz NL, Ware LB. Cigarette Smoke Exposure and the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Crit Care Med. 2015 Sep; 43(9):1790-7.
    View on PubMed
  19. Prochaska JJ, Benowitz NL. The Past, Present, and Future of Nicotine Addiction Therapy. Annu Rev Med. 2016 Jan 14; 67:467-86.
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  20. Benowitz NL, Nardone N, Dains KM, Hall SM, Stewart S, Dempsey D, Jacob P. Effect of reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes on cigarette smoking behavior and tobacco smoke toxicant exposure: 2-year follow up. Addiction. 2015 Oct; 110(10):1667-75.
    View on PubMed

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