Cigarettes, Slots, and Other Things that Aren't Addictive



these guys realized quick if they were gonna claim that cigarettes were not addictive they better have proof this is the man that rely on he's been testing the link between nicotine and lung cancer for 30 years and hasn't found any conclusive results the man's a genius we could disprove gravity this is called industry-funded research and while it is a science unfortunately it's oftentimes a science of deception when faced with inconvenient facts companies will sometimes pay for research to find the opposite conclusion so they can deny guilt the most notorious example for this was the tobacco industry who famously created an organization called the Council for tobacco research to fight the idea that cigarettes caused lung cancer dr. little have any cancer-causing agents been identified in cigarettes no none whatever either in cigarettes or in any product of smoking as such now fast-forward a few decades the public eventually found out the truth and the CTR was exposed as a sham but as the world turned its attention to new problems one industry found itself in familiar crosshairs we Americans spend more money on slots than on movies baseball and theme parks combined but with the modern slot machines there's a greater potential for a dangerous side effect gambling addiction problem gambling has become an epidemic last year the American Psychiatric Association reclassified pathological gambling as an addiction Las Vegas and other casinos are like giant laboratories and the features that earn higher will stick and those that don't will drop away the formula they've hit upon happens to be one that's highly addictive the gambling industry was being accused of preying on the wallets of addicted gamblers addicted gamblers that they helped create with their carefully designed machines Howard Shafer researcher at Harvard noted this increased addictiveness of modern games like slots by calling them the crack cocaine of gambling in the midst of all this horrible press the gambling industry needed a strategy to stay alive luckily for them they had watched someone else go through this and had learned a few things you can't completely deny the facts the cigarette industry tried it and it didn't work the truth eventually comes out so they came up with a different plan instead of denying gambling addiction they would embrace the problem publicly and also take an extremely active role in researching the science of gambling addiction by doing this they could frame the discussion of the addiction the way they wanted to and so the National Center for Responsible gaming was created funded by casino dollars and here's how they describe gambling addiction today so what exactly is a gambling disorder and why do some people struggle with it while others do not one point that research clearly shows is that gambling disorders are closely linked with other psychological problems including depression and substance abuse we also know that over time proximity to casinos does not impact the prevalence of gambling disorders and while the vast majority of people gamble responsibly approximately 1% of Americans are diagnosed with a gambling disorder now it might not surprise you many of their findings are in direct contradiction to scientific studies that aren't backed by casino dollars but rather than nitpicking everything I want to focus on their macro message the biggest thing is that they want to imply that addicts are born that way they're not created from a product if you can blame addiction on brain problems within the addict you are indirectly vindicating the gambling machines of course this is what the casinos want the most dangerous idea is that they have anything to do with creating addicts so instead they say it's not the product that causes the problem the problem is already within the addict and just expresses itself in the addiction the senior research director for the NCR G Christine Riley makes this bias explicit well things are not addictive they're just not if you don't have that vulnerability the odds are you won't get addicted and the NCR G is willing to put up a lot of money to any scientists who will agree with them and surprisingly one of the people who took them up on that offer was Howard Shafer the man quoted earlier as calling slots the crack cocaine of gambling today he tells a much different story that casino games like slots aren't addictive and if this seems like a 180 to you you're not the only one when asked about this contradiction he tried really hard to where the two opinions but at one point you said slot machines were the crack cocaine of gambling I did say and how does that square with what you're telling me today not everybody who uses crack cocaine becomes addicted but nobody's gonna sit here and try to tell me crack cocaine is an addictive and if this is like crack cocaine the conclusion is that it's addictive I don't come to the same conclusion because that's majority of people that have used cocaine have not developed cocaine addiction only a small minority and the same would be true with example okay now obviously Howard Shafer would say the millions of dollars in research funding he's received hasn't tanked in his research but in Schafer's words I don't come to the same conclusion because if he started to say the wrong things a lot of that funding would disappear research funding from places like the NCR gee but also MGM Resorts and draftkings just to name a few and this strategy to buy scientific research to shift the burden of responsibility onto the addict and away from the product has been great for casinos public image but it isn't the first time someone tried it certain of the published data seem to show an association between certain types of cancer and excessive use of cigarettes now we're very interested in finding out what kind of people are heavy smokers is it a different nervous type of person is it a person who was reacting differently to strain or stress because it is very clear that certain people just can't can't take it certain people just can't take it this is exactly the same framing casinos use why do some people struggle with it while others do not certain people just can't take it it's a simple powerful argument and whether or not anyone fully believes them that isn't the point the gambling industry wins even if all they do is confuse you if they can cast doubt on the scientific consensus of what causes gambling addiction they've won because nobody's gonna legislate on something that the scientific community isn't agreed upon and the problem of deliberate misinformation is widespread it goes beyond just smoking and gambling you can find it at Exxon where knowledge of climate change was deliberately ignored and you can find it in the sugar industry when they paid for research to blame heart disease on fat instead of sugar you can even find it in my favorite soda company Coca Cola when they publicly said they care about the problem of soft drinks but deny it in the science so if we know this problem is widespread why do we continue to fall for it there are two main models we use to deal with research that has a conflict of interest you can completely prohibit it or you can disclose the conflict of interest and use peer review as a check and balance for a long time we've used the latter and assumed peer review would be enough because prohibition just seems extreme but many critics are now wondering whether this is effective at keeping out bad science because the ncrj disclosed it and yet they still manage to shove 200 papers through the peer-review process even the tobacco industry funded research that slipped favorable articles passed the peer-review process in my view the risk is too great I think that more journals should seriously consider the prohibition model when dealing with papers with an obvious conflict of interest we live in a world where the truth is not agreed upon very often and the last thing we need is for science a beacon of objectivity to be cluttered by bad actors who just want to confuse the scientific consensus and prevent progress so far what are the conclusions reached by your organization in my opinion to single out smoking as of course legend is on the evidence to date complete down justified well thank you very much sir for help well thank you very much for letting me put our views forward you better have a cigarette before you go ahead sir before you go we have a sponsor our very first sponsor so thank you to audible for sponsoring this video you can get a free audiobook and 30-day trial by going to audible.com/veritasium this channel are inspired by books and one of the ways I get through books is by listening to them in the car at the gym walking whatever it's a great way to just take some books down in your free time today I wanted to recommend hooked by near Isle which is about how people engineer addictive products and I think it goes right in line with this video if you want to learn more so once again you can get a free audiobook like hooked by near IO or any book that you choose from their amazement I bury by going to audible.com/veritasium

50 comments

  1. I wanted to point something out that I cut from the script for brevity but should’ve left in.
    There are a few different models of addiction.
    One is the disease model, sort of the genetic predisposition argument which looks at the individual susceptiblility to addiction.
    The second is the public health model, which looks at substance availability and what it does to humans to examine addiction.
    Both are needed to form a complete picture of addiction. So when I disagree with the NCRG’s “findings” it’s not because genetics don’t matter, it’s because they present it as the only cause of the problem. They completely dismiss the public health aspect (see their claim that “proximity to casinos doesn’t increase gambling addiction” which is totally against the modern scientific understanding, which is that proximity DOES increase addiction). This is the problem. They aren’t entirely inaccurate, but they are being misleading, by design.

    Finally I wanted to address the prohibition comment. I share many of your reservations and agree that it would create problems. This is why I put opinion alert, because I’m not sure it would solve more than it would hurt. That being said, the other model of peer review shares its own set of major problems which I discussed in this video. we’ve been trying that method for decades “just need better peer review man”. I wanted to suggest that at some point you have to ask, at what level of conflict of interest;, do you fundamentally taint the results? At what point does the damage done by bad research that slips by, outweigh the bads a of prohibition.
    And You’re free to say, never, we should never stop anyone from funding any research, but i hope You share my belief that isn’t a black and white issue. Both methods of managing COIs have intractable problems and how we handle them matters a great deal. Thanks for indulging this qualification and thanks for watching!

  2. Addiction depends on substance and individual. They are right about individual but they are trying to divert attention from substance. Just like some individual are weak against addiction, some substance are highly addictive and casino are trying to make environment point that only weak get addicted you don't have to worry. At the same time developing way to increase its addictive power.

  3. Anything can be addictive, this idea that there needs to be a classification for things that are considered “addictive” is ridiculous

  4. Everyone who is addicted to gambling knows they’re addicted to gambling, everyone who is playing on a slot for the first time knows that they could be addicted too.

  5. The truth is very one-dimensional, while our science is not – with regards to almost anything.
    Science is experiencing a crisis. And this creates a lot of uncertainty and ultimately very polarized views.

  6. I used to smoke. It helped me with pain somehow. After I quit it for 4 year, the pains are more now, only sleep helps.

  7. 10 years ago, we didn't know anything about the effect of porn on our brains, now we do know that porn is more addicting that heroin, and i actually find it ironic how i'm writing this with a porn clip on my other tab, i'm so addicted at this point i can't get a week off porn.

  8. those dam weak minded smokers. if they only had the will power to smoke 5 cigarettes a day as opposed to 5 packs , they would be perfectly fine. It's all their fault those weak minded fools. Cigarettes are as harmless as water. In fact they have vitamin C in them. LOL

  9. This is really lazy thinking. You should consider taking it down, it’s kind of embarrassing next to your other content.

  10. You aren’t actually addressing their arguments head-on. You’re just assigning bad intentions to them. That’s an argumentative fallacy. They aren’t claiming no one becomes addicted to gambling, they’re saying most people can engage in gambling without becoming an addict. And you have to address that fact if you want people to accept your position.

  11. This guy is talking like there wasn't a huge drug war that failed and that tens of thousands of peoples aren't junkies. Please… not everyone get's addicted to crack… One time is enough, with the combination of you wanting to repeat the feeling and cocaine's effect on the brain it's almost impossible not to get addicted after trying

  12. The truth hurt, but suffer mean to be alive, soo you can don't like to suffer, but you can't refuse it, refuse to suffer is refusing to live

  13. I'm not addicted to smoking I just like to smoke and can stop when ever I want….. Said a colleague…. I just raised an eyebrow and walked away……

  14. Schafer is right though. Only 9% of people who use cocaine go on to become addicts. But yeah generally research will incentivize researchers to interpret findings as the funder is interested. For private funding they want to be left along. Government funding usually just wants more regulation to justify more research.

  15. In my entire life, I've smoked one cigarette, so it's not like I'm an expert on the subject. But for 2 months after that cig, whenever I walked past someone smoking it smelled inticing, my heart raced, and I craved a cig.

    I've also tried vaping (I know, I've made some stupid decision) and it never made me crave nor did it smell good. Nicotine is very addictive, but there is more than that in cigs, those 8,000 other chemicals are designed to make it impossible to stop.

  16. I fundamentally disagree with the term "addictive" In all the uses I have seen. It is almost universally used to describe something which gives the user a positive sensation and sometimes a negative one should they stop using it after becoming dependant. I don't consider the negative effects to be "addiction" as they are withdrawal. I do not consider the positive effects "addiction" as then food and deep breaths would be considered addictive. As such I conclude that the only part of "addiction" that could be considered an issue is withdrawal. As such there is no use in the word "addiction" as reference to anything other than withdrawal.

    Cigarettes only offer noticeable withdrawal after smoking quite a bit and the withdrawal is gone after a week or so. The "psychological addiction" that persists is merely a mental association with positive sensations. As such we are therefore "psychologically addicted" to anything nice that we haven't had in some time.

    The only form of addiction that I recognise (and even then only partially) is the psychological association between a thing and the release from withdrawal as this is the brain being tricked into expecting a sensation which only occurs under circumstances that it is currently not in (withdrawal).

  17. I just had my first cigarette, it’s either that I ain’t doing it right or it simply isn’t addicting.

  18. I figured you would take this in the direction of climate change denial by fossil fuel companies.

  19. Things are not addictive? Smoke this bowl full crack meth flip and well talk again tomorrow in your neighbours garage

  20. colors, patterns, like a moth to a flame. life sucks, and anything that is better than that, in the moment, the present, a drug a sex, money, it seems how it is structured to manipulate the narrow band of a weak minded fools is better than their present existence . you are no Jedi.

  21. There's more to cigarettes than nicotine 🙄 what causes cancer is the inhalation of smoke and all the other hundreds of chemicals you're inhaling. Nicotine in itself isn't all that bad in the grand scheme of things.

    Im so tired of "fact" Videos that don't know shit about the content

  22. Everything that stimulate or bring you a reward in some way can be addictive. I think what you become adiccted to says something about your core belief about oneself or our surroundings or our repetetive thinking patterns.

  23. Gambling not addictive huh? Come to Illinois where you can't drive a half mile without running into a place that has legalized slot machines that are raking in millions of dollars state wide per day. I know plenty of people who are addicted to these fucking machines including myself

  24. Smoking does more harm than good. It has no backing as to how it would be beneficial to a human being in any way.

    They just figured out that people will like it, no matter how big the risks are. Just check how the illegal drug's business is going~

    Don't smoke~
    That's all there is to it.
    The more you buy this stuff… the more these shits will keep making money by slowly killing people. I bet these guys don't even smoke.
    — Same goes for the other subjects.

  25. Retarded video, they are right. If you are week and overall a shit person you will get addicted. Don't blame the game blame THE PEOPLE !

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