This article is from the Stop Smoking FAQ, by email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
The World Health Organization uses these guidelines to diagnose nicotine
ICD-10 copyright © 1992 by World Health Organization. Internet Mental
Health (www.mentalhealth.com) copyright © 1995-1996 by Phillip W. Long, M.D.
A definite diagnosis of dependence should usually be made only if three or
more of the following have been experienced or exhibited at some time
during the previous year:
a. a strong desire or sense of compulsion to take tobacco;
b. difficulties in controlling tobacco-taking behaviour in terms of its
onset, termination, or levels of use;
c. a physiological withdrawal state when tobacco use has ceased or been
reduced, as evidenced by: the characteristic withdrawal; syndrome for
tobacco; or use of the same (or a closely related) substance with the
intention of relieving or avoiding withdrawal symptoms;
d. evidence of tolerance, such that increased doses of tobacco are
required in order to achieve effects originally produced by lower doses;
e. progressive neglect of alternative pleasures or interests because of
tobacco use, increased amount of time necessary to obtain or take the
substance or to recover from its effects;
f. persisting with tobacco use despite clear evidence of overtly harmful
consequences, such as depressive mood states consequent to periods of heavy
substance use, or drug-related impairment of cognitive functioning; efforts
should be made to determine that the user was actually, or could be
expected to be, aware of the nature and extent of the harm.
I don't know about anyone else, but I experienced all of these symptoms,
for 23 years.