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

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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. 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.
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  2. 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.
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  3. Prochaska JJ, Benowitz NL. Smoking cessation and the cardiovascular patient. Curr Opin Cardiol. 2015 Sep; 30(5):506-11.
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  4. 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.
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  5. 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.
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  6. Bergen AW, Michel M, Nishita D, Krasnow R, Javitz HS, Conneely KN, Lessov-Schlaggar CN, Hops H, Zhu AZ, Baurley JW, McClure JB, Hall SM, Baker TB, Conti DV, Benowitz NL, Lerman C, Tyndale RF, Swan GE. Drug Metabolizing Enzyme and Transporter Gene Variation, Nicotine Metabolism, Prospective Abstinence, and Cigarette Consumption. PLoS One. 2015; 10(7):e0126113.
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  7. Tyndale RF, Zhu AZ, George TP, Cinciripini P, Hawk LW, Schnoll RA, Swan GE, Benowitz NL, Heitjan DF, Lerman C. Lack of Associations of CHRNA5-A3-B4 Genetic Variants with Smoking Cessation Treatment Outcomes in Caucasian Smokers despite Associations with Baseline Smoking. PLoS One. 2015; 10(5):e0128109.
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  8. Tanner JA, Novalen M, Jatlow P, Huestis MA, Murphy SE, Kaprio J, Kankaanpää A, Galanti L, Stefan C, George TP, Benowitz NL, Lerman C, Tyndale RF. Nicotine Metabolite Ratio (3-Hydroxycotinine/Cotinine) in Plasma and Urine by Different Analytical Methods and Laboratories: Implications for Clinical Implementation. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Aug; 24(8):1239-46.
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  9. Zhu AZ, Cox LS, Ahluwalia JS, Renner CC, Hatsukami DK, Benowitz NL, Tyndale RF. Genetic and phenotypic variation in UGT2B17, a testosterone-metabolizing enzyme, is associated with BMI in males. Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2015 May; 25(5):263-9.
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  10. Whitehead TP, Havel C, Metayer C, Benowitz NL, Jacob P. Tobacco alkaloids and tobacco-specific nitrosamines in dust from homes of smokeless tobacco users, active smokers, and nontobacco users. Chem Res Toxicol. 2015 May 18; 28(5):1007-14.
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  11. Whitsel LP, Benowitz N, Bhatnagar A, Bullen C, Goldstein F, Matthias-Gray L, Grossmeier J, Harris J, Isaac F, Loeppke R, Manley M, Moseley K, Niemiec T, O'Brien V, Palma-Davis L, Pronk N, Pshock J, Stave GM, Terry P. Guidance to employers on integrating e-cigarettes/electronic nicotine delivery systems into tobacco worksite policy. J Occup Environ Med. 2015 Mar; 57(3):334-43.
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  12. Grana R, Benowitz N, Glantz S. Response to letter regarding article, "Electronic cigarettes: a scientific review". Circulation. 2015 Feb 10; 131(6):e342.
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  13. Lerman C, Schnoll RA, Hawk LW, Cinciripini P, George TP, Wileyto EP, Swan GE, Benowitz NL, Heitjan DF, Tyndale RF. Use of the nicotine metabolite ratio as a genetically informed biomarker of response to nicotine patch or varenicline for smoking cessation: a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Respir Med. 2015 Feb; 3(2):131-8.
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  14. Bandiera FC, Ross KC, Taghavi S, Delucchi K, Tyndale RF, Benowitz NL. Nicotine Dependence, Nicotine Metabolism, and the Extent of Compensation in Response to Reduced Nicotine Content Cigarettes. Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 Sep; 17(9):1167-72.
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  15. Japuntich SJ, Eilers MA, Shenhav S, Park ER, Winickoff JP, Benowitz NL, Rigotti NA. Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure among hospitalized nonsmokers with coronary heart disease. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Jan 1; 175(1):133-6.
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  16. Hatsukami DK, Donny EC, Koopmeiners JS, Benowitz NL. Compensatory smoking from gradual and immediate reduction in cigarette nicotine content. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Feb; 24(2):472-6.
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  17. Benowitz NL, Nardone N, Hatsukami DK, Donny EC. Biochemical estimation of noncompliance with smoking of very low nicotine content cigarettes. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Feb; 24(2):331-5.
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  18. St Helen G, Jacob P, Peng M, Dempsey DA, Hammond SK, Benowitz NL. Intake of toxic and carcinogenic volatile organic compounds from secondhand smoke in motor vehicles. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Dec; 23(12):2774-82.
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  19. Al-Abri S, Meier KH, Colby JM, Smollin CG, Benowitz NL. Cardiogenic shock after use of fluoroamphetamine confirmed with serum and urine levels. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2014 Dec; 52(10):1292-5.
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  20. Wassenaar CA, Conti DV, Das S, Chen P, Cook EH, Ratain MJ, Benowitz NL, Tyndale RF. UGT1A and UGT2B Genetic Variation Alters Nicotine and Nitrosamine Glucuronidation in European and African American Smokers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Jan; 24(1):94-104.
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