A genetic study done by Ke Xu and Boyang Li revealed that there are 99 genetic variants that are linked to the start of a smoking addiction and 19 variants that are linked to being able to quit smoking. The study was done of a wide variety of individuals from different backgrounds, and it was done over a long period of time so the researchers could get longitudinal data on the smoking history of the patients. The likelihood of smoking is not entirely genetic, environmental factors also play a role in this trait. About 40-50% of the likelihood of smoking is genetic while the rest is environmental. Xu states that the smoking has decreased by education of policies that raised taxes of tobacco products and limited the sales and advertisement of those products. Also the development of smoking limited zones played a role in decreasing the likelihood of people developing a smoking addiction. The findings of the research are not yet certain, they believe that these genetics variations may only be loosely connected to the patient's smoking behavior, but regardless I think this is a step forward in being able to find a cure for an addiction to smoking. By finding out that genes are involved in addiction can lead to more studies being done for this topic. Once they discover how the decision-making aspects of a smoker's brain is different from an average person's brain, treatments could be developed to help with that. This can also apply to other types of addiction and more people can be alleviated of their disease.
This is a really interesting topic because, like most conditions and addictions, addiction to smoking is due to a mix of environmental and genetic factors. It is definitely good to see that the "newer" (as in the last 50-60 years) environmental factors such as education and warnings about nicotine are changing the amount of people addicted to smoking. An interesting fact is that in 1963, adults smoked an average of 12 cigarettes per day, but in 1998 (the first surgeon's warning about smoking was 1964), it went down to 5 cigarettes per day, and has been going down since. This shows that even if people have a predisposition for smoking through their genetics, if they are properly educated against smoking, they can resist the addiction.ReplyDelete
I like this topic because of how relevant it is to us as young adults today with the increase of electric cigarette usage. The amount of young adults not being able to quit can blame their genes to an extent to the fact why it's so hard. Obviously there are many other addictions but this article is perfectly relevant of our environment as a class and great choice.ReplyDelete