Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Does a gene cause smoking addiction?

A genetic variation could prompt craving for smoking and increasing chances of lung cancer and arterial disease, according to an international study.

The study covered 3,700 people from seven countries either with lung cancer or arterial disease and a further 30,000 disease free control subjects.

Greg Jones of the University of Otago said receptors in the brain activated by nicotine appear to be more active in the people with this genetic variation.

Consequently, they have a greater tendency to become addicted to smoking.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

"Inheriting this one factor means they face a double whammy. Not only are they more likely to be heavier smokers but their risk of lung cancer increases by 18 percent and their risk of arterial disease goes up by 10 percent," he added.

"The bottom line is that regardless of whether you have the genetic variation or not, you should not smoke," says Jones.

"Either way, smoking remains a huge risk factor for cardiovascular and lung disease."

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