Rats that had been trained to respond for food on a fixed-interval 3-minute schedule were treated once daily with nicotine (2 mg/kg) for 50 days. Animals developed marked tolerance to the depressant effect of nicotine as measured by the decreased effect of the treatment dose on response rates over days. Substitution of saline for nicotine during chronic treatment resulted in response rates which were significantly less than pretreatment values. In addition, following cessation of chronic treatment, response rates were initially suppressed below pretreatment rates; by the third day of withdrawal, response rates had returned to baseline levels. It is proposed that the response deficit observed during nicotine absence represents one behavioral component of a nicotine withdrawal syndrome.