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

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. Benowitz NL. Seizures After Vaping Nicotine in Youth: A Canary or a Red Herring? J Adolesc Health. 2020 Jan; 66(1):1-2.
    View on PubMed
  2. Denlinger-Apte RL, Kotlyar M, Koopmeiners JS, Tidey JW, Luo X, Benowitz NL, Jensen JA, Ikuemonisan JO, Pacek LR, Smith TT, Vandrey R, Donny EC, Hatsukami DK. Effects of Very Low Nicotine Content Cigarettes on Smoking Behavior and Biomarkers of Exposure in Menthol and Non-menthol Smokers. Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Dec 23; 21(Supplement_1):S63-S72.
    View on PubMed
  3. Benowitz NL, Donny EC, Edwards KC, Hatsukami D, Smith TT. The Role of Compensation in Nicotine Reduction. Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Dec 23; 21(Supplement_1):S16-S18.
    View on PubMed
  4. Nardone N, Jain S, Addo N, St Helen G, Jacob P, Benowitz NL. Sources and Biomarkers of Secondhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Urban Adolescents. Acad Pediatr. 2019 Dec 19.
    View on PubMed
  5. Harvanko AM, St Helen G, Nardone N, Addo N, Benowitz NL. Twenty-four Hour Subjective and Pharmacological Effects of Ad Libitum Electronic and Combustible Cigarette Use among Dual Users. Addiction. 2019 Dec 14.
    View on PubMed
  6. 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. 2019 Dec 13.
    View on PubMed
  7. Harvanko AM, Havel CM, Jacob P, Benowitz NL. Characterization of Nicotine Salts in 23 Electronic Cigarette Refill Liquids. Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Dec 10.
    View on PubMed
  8. Nardone N, Shahid M, Strasser AA, Dempsey DA, Benowitz NL. The influence of nicotine metabolic rate on working memory over 6 hours of abstinence from nicotine. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2019 Dec 05; 188:172836.
    View on PubMed
  9. Voos N, Smith D, Kaiser L, Mahoney MC, Bradizza CM, Kozlowski LT, Benowitz NL, O'Connor RJ, Goniewicz ML. Effect of e-cigarette flavors on nicotine delivery and puffing topography: results from a randomized clinical trial of daily smokers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2019 Nov 26.
    View on PubMed
  10. Liakoni E, Nardone N, St Helen G, Dempsey DA, Tyndale RF, Benowitz NL. Effects of Nicotine Metabolic Rate on Cigarette Reinforcement. Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Nov 14.
    View on PubMed
  11. St Helen G, Nardone N, Addo N, Dempsey D, Havel C, Jacob P, Benowitz NL. Differences in nicotine intake and effects from electronic and combustible cigarettes among dual users. Addiction. 2019 Nov 06.
    View on PubMed
  12. Peng AR, Swardfager W, Benowitz NL, Ahluwalia JS, Lerman C, Nollen NL, Tyndale RF. Impact of early nausea on varenicline adherence and smoking cessation. Addiction. 2020 Jan; 115(1):134-144.
    View on PubMed
  13. Prochaska JJ, Benowitz NL. Current advances in research in treatment and recovery: Nicotine addiction. Sci Adv. 2019 10; 5(10):eaay9763.
    View on PubMed
  14. 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. 2019 Oct 14.
    View on PubMed
  15. Carroll DM, Strayer L, Nardone N, Pacek LR, Kozink RV, Tessier K, McClernon J, Benowitz N, Bickel WK, Hatsukami D. Development and Piloting Testing of An Experimental Tobacco and Nicotine Product Marketplace. Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Oct 11.
    View on PubMed
  16. 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. 2019 Oct 01.
    View on PubMed
  17. Nollen NL, Mayo MS, Sanderson Cox L, Benowitz NL, Tyndale RF, Ellerbeck EF, Scheuermann TS, Ahluwalia JS. Factors That Explain Differences in Abstinence Between Black and White Smokers: A Prospective Intervention Study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2019 Oct 01; 111(10):1078-1087.
    View on PubMed
  18. Rezk-Hanna M, Toyama J, Ikharo E, Brecht ML, Benowitz NL. E-Hookah Versus E-Cigarettes: Findings From Wave 2 of the PATH Study (2014-2015). Am J Prev Med. 2019 Nov; 57(5):e163-e173.
    View on PubMed
  19. St Helen G, Liakoni E, Nardone N, Addo N, Jacob P, Benowitz NL. Comparison of systemic exposure to toxic and/or carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during vaping, smoking, and abstention. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2019 Sep 25.
    View on PubMed
  20. Benowitz N, Nardone N, St Helen G, Addo N, Jacob P, Liakoni E, Jain S, Hooshfar S, Lynch K. Quantitative biochemical screening for marijuana use and concordance with tobacco use in urban adolescents. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Dec 01; 205:107583.
    View on PubMed

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