Genetic Links

Scientist have found powerful evidence suggesting that genetics plays a dominant role in making some people particularly susceptible to nicotine addiction.

A comparison of the smoking habits of more than 2,000 pairs of twins, showed much greater similarity on smoking behaviour between identical (same gene) twins than non-identical twins.

A member of the team, Dr. Pamela Madden said “Our evidence indicates that strong genetic effects are responsible for both starting smoking and for long-term smoking.  Innate differences in initial sensitivity to nicotine may play an important role, with many individuals who experience a strong adverse reaction  giving up smoking after the first or second attempt”. The Health Education Authority said “If convincing evidence of a genetic effect emerges, then we may consider targeting children of smoking parents”.

Madden, P et al.Washington University School of Medicine, Missouri.
Report ‘Behaviour Genetics’ June95

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