Genes That Make You Smoke!
Over the years, observations on smoking patterns have confirmed that genetics play a role in one’s predisposition to smoking and nicotine addiction. Over 1.1 billion people around the world smoke cigarettes, with smoking being considered the leading cause of avoidable deaths.
But which genes in particular make this happen?
a) A DNA variant located in the DNMT3B gene has been identified as a risk factor for heavy smoking, as well as the development of lung cancer.
b) A variant of another gene, CHRNA5, can double one’s chance of developing an addiction to nicotine. Researchers investigating the influence of this gene in mice found that it operates in the habenula, a region of the brain associated with avoidance and aversion.they found that heavy smoking may in fact damage the neurons in this brain region, leading to strong negative feelings. Consuming more nicotine may then be seen as a way to combat this distress, thus increasing the individual's likelihood to smoke more cigarettes (Szalavitz: 2015).
Thus, genetic factors play a significant role in determining one’s susceptibility to nicotine addiction.
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