Posts Tagged smoking genetic problem

Genes May Tell Which Teens Could Become Heavy Smokers

Family history is one of the risk factors of smoking, but genetic risk profile may tell more in terms of which teens can get hooked quickly and become a heavy smoker.

smokingA group of researchers from the U.S., the U.K. and New Zealand developed a genetic risk profile for heavy smoking based on earlier studies by other research teams. They then examined their own long-term study of 1,000 New Zealanders and found that those who had high-risk genetic profile were more likely to engage in daily smoking as teenagers and eventually become as heavy smokers.

“Genetic risk accelerated the development of smoking behavior,” Daniel Belsky, a post-doctoral research fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, said in a news release. “Teens at a high genetic risk transitioned quickly from trying cigarettes to becoming regular, heavy smokers.”

The team’s findings, which appeared on March 27 in JAMA Psychiatry, were supported by multiple grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, as well as the U.K. Medical Research Council and the New Zealand Health Research Council.

The study did not predict whether a person would try cigarettes, however, it showed that genetic risks was related to the development of smoking problems.

Among the teens who tried cigarettes, those with a high-risk genetic profile were at 24 percent greater risk to become daily smokers by age 15, and 43 percent more likely to smoke one pack a day by age 18.

As adults, those with high-risk profiles were found to be at 27 percent higher risk to become nicotine dependent, and 22 percent more likely to fail in their attempts to quit smoking. By age 38, those with high-risk genetic profile had smoked more than 7,000 cigarettes than the average smoker, the study noted.

Given their findings, the researchers recommend that public health policies continue to target prevention and intervention to help teens who might have the genetics to become regular smokers later in life.

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Success Rates on Quitting Linked to Smoker’s Genes

A new study suggests that there could be one’s genes could help him quit his nicotine addiction.

Researchers from the Washington University of Medicine at St. Louis examined data gathered from 6,000 smokers who participated in a clinical study that focused on a specific gene affecting a smoker’s ability to quit. It was noted that a typical gene variation that makes it difficult for smokers to stop smoking is also a factor to consider for heavy smokers to successfully quit their habit through nicotine-replacement therapies and other drugs.

quit smokingAccording to Dr. Li-Shiun Chen from the psychiatry department at the Washing University, high-risk genes found in some individuals played a significant role in their desire to quit smoking. “People with the high-risk genetic markers smoked an average of two years longer than those without these high-risk genes, and they were less likely to quit smoking without medication. The same gene variants can predict a person’s response to smoking-cessation medication, and those with the high-risk genes are more likely to respond to the medication.”

Results of the study published in the May 30 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that smokers who had the particular genes increased their chances of quitting through drugs and NRTs by up to three times more compared to those who don’t possess the genes. This could mean that there is now a way to determine the capability of a smoker to quit using drug treatment options through the presence or absence of the genes.

Senior investigator and psychiatry professor Dr. Laura Jean Bierut said that although the high-risk genes are not the only factors in identifying whether a smoker could make or break his nicotine habit, the findings can be very helpful in studying nicotine addiction treatment as a whole.

“These variants make a very modest contribution to the development of nicotine addiction, but they have a much greater effect on the response to treatment,” Bierut claimed. “That’s a huge finding.”

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