University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Neal L. Benowitz, MD

Neal L. Benowitz, MD

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

Cancer Center Program Memberships

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

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. Denlinger-Apte RL, White CM, Donny EC, Hatsukami DK, Benowitz NL, Carpenter MJ, Smith TT. "I actually finally feel like the cigarettes aren't controlling me." - Interviews with participants smoking very low nicotine content cigarettes during a residential study. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Dec 19; 219:108465.
    View on PubMed
  2. El-Boraie A, Chenoweth MJ, Pouget JG, Benowitz NL, Fukunaga K, Mushiroda T, Kubo M, Nollen NL, Cox LS, Lerman C, Knight J, Tyndale RF. Transferability Of Ancestry-Specific And Cross-Ancestry CYP2A6 Activity Genetic Risk Scores In African And European Populations. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Dec 09.
    View on PubMed
  3. Knox M, Skan J, Benowitz NL, Schnellbaecher M, Prochaska JJ. Recruitment best practices of a cardiovascular risk reduction randomised control trial in rural Alaska Native communities. Int J Circumpolar Health. 2020 Dec; 79(1):1806639.
    View on PubMed
  4. Benowitz NL, St Helen G, Nardone N, Addo N, Zhang JJ, Harvanko AM, Calfee CS, Jacob P. Twenty-Four-Hour Cardiovascular Effects of Electronic Cigarettes Compared With Cigarette Smoking in Dual Users. J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Dec; 9(23):e017317.
    View on PubMed
  5. Evins AE, West R, Benowitz NL, Russ C, Lawrence D, McRae T, Maravic MC, Heffner JL, Anthenelli RM. Efficacy and Safety of Pharmacotherapeutic Smoking Cessation Aids in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: Subgroup Analysis of EAGLES. Psychiatr Serv. 2020 Nov 03; appips202000032.
    View on PubMed
  6. Pulvers K, Nollen NL, Rice M, Schmid CH, Qu K, Benowitz NL, Ahluwalia JS. Effect of Pod e-Cigarettes vs Cigarettes on Carcinogen Exposure Among African American and Latinx Smokers: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Nov 02; 3(11):e2026324.
    View on PubMed
  7. Carroll DM, Cigan S, Ikuemonisan J, Hammonds T, Stepanov I, St Helen G, Benowitz N, Hatsukami DK. Relationships Between Race, Gender, and Spot Urine Levels of Biomarkers of Tobacco Exposure Vary Based on How Creatinine Is Handled in Analyses. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 Oct 29; 22(11):2109-2113.
    View on PubMed
  8. Wakefield MA, Dunstone K, Brennan E, Vittiglia A, Scollo M, Durkin SJ, Hoek J, Thrasher J, Hatsukami D, Benowitz N, Samet JM. Australian smokers' experiences and perceptions of recessed and firm filter cigarettes. Tob Control. 2020 Oct 28.
    View on PubMed
  9. Piper ME, Baker TB, Benowitz NL, Jorenby DE. Corrigendum to: Changes in Use Patterns Over 1 Year Among Smokers and Dual Users of Combustible and Electronic Cigarettes. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 10 08; 22(10):1934.
    View on PubMed
  10. Chaffee BW, Jacob P, Couch ET, Benowitz NL. Exposure to a Tobacco-Specific Carcinogen Among Adolescent Smokeless Tobacco Users in Rural California, United States. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 10 08; 22(10):1764-1771.
    View on PubMed
  11. Piper ME, Baker TB, Mermelstein R, Benowitz N, Jorenby DE. Relations among cigarette dependence, e-cigarette dependence, and key dependence criteria among dual users of combustible and e-cigarettes. Psychol Addict Behav. 2020 Sep 21.
    View on PubMed
  12. Kovar L, Selzer D, Britz H, Benowitz N, St Helen G, Kohl Y, Bals R, Lehr T. Comprehensive Parent-Metabolite PBPK/PD Modeling Insights into Nicotine Replacement Therapy Strategies. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2020 Sep; 59(9):1119-1134.
    View on PubMed
  13. Nardone N, Giberson J, Prochaska JJ, Jain S, Benowitz NL. A Mobile Health Intervention for Adolescents Exposed to Secondhand Smoke: Pilot Feasibility and Efficacy Study. JMIR Form Res. 2020 Aug 19; 4(8):e18583.
    View on PubMed
  14. Nardone N, Jain S, Benowitz NL. Biomarkers of Exposure to Nicotine and Tobacco-Specific Nitrosamines in Adolescent Blunt Users. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 07 16; 22(8):1428-1429.
    View on PubMed
  15. Liakoni E, Nardone N, St Helen G, Dempsey DA, Tyndale RF, Benowitz NL. Effects of Nicotine Metabolic Rate on Cigarette Reinforcement. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 07 16; 22(8):1419-1423.
    View on PubMed
  16. Moazed F, Hendrickson C, Conroy A, Kornblith LZ, Benowitz NL, Delucchi K, Cohen MJ, Calfee CS. Cigarette Smoking and ARDS After Blunt Trauma: The Influence of Changing Smoking Patterns and Resuscitation Practices. Chest. 2020 Oct; 158(4):1490-1498.
    View on PubMed
  17. Epperson AE, Crouch M, Skan J, Benowitz NL, Schnellbaecher M, Prochaska JJ. Cultural and demographic correlates of dual tobacco use in a sample of Alaska Native adults who smoke cigarettes. Tob Induc Dis. 2020; 18:55.
    View on PubMed
  18. Benowitz NL, Bernert JT, Foulds J, Hecht SS, Jacob P, Jarvis MJ, Joseph A, Oncken C, Piper ME. Biochemical Verification of Tobacco Use and Abstinence: 2019 Update. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 06 12; 22(7):1086-1097.
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  19. Jacob P, St Helen G, Yu L, Nardone N, Havel C, Cheung P, Benowitz NL. Biomarkers of Exposure for Dual Use of Electronic Cigarettes and Combustible Cigarettes: Nicotelline, NNAL, and Total Nicotine Equivalents. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 06 12; 22(7):1107-1113.
    View on PubMed
  20. Harvanko AM, Havel CM, Jacob P, Benowitz NL. Characterization of Nicotine Salts in 23 Electronic Cigarette Refill Liquids. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 06 12; 22(7):1239-1243.
    View on PubMed

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