Addicted to Nicotine? Blame Your Genes

Are you an avoider or a chooser of nicotine?  That question has puzzled scientists, but they think they know the answer…it may be in your genes.  That could also explain why some smokers become addicted much quicker than others.  refusing_cigarettes

Scientists conducted a small study using 18 people who had never smoked before.  They were given either a placebo pill or a low-dose nicotine pill which was 10 times lower than woman_smokingthe nicotine in a cigarette or about 1.5 milligrams per 70 kilograms of body weight (about 154 pounds).  The pills were labeled A or B.  No one was told that the pills may contain nicotine nor did they know which pill they were getting.  As it turned out, each volunteer was given one nicotine pill and one placebo each day spaced about two hours apart.  After the pills, they were asked to describe their symptoms.

During the next part of the study, participants were again given the pills, but this time the pills were not labeled and participants had to identify which pill they were given.  The dose of nicotine was increased if they could not differentiate between the two pills.   If they could distinguish between the pills, they were given a choice of either taking the pills or if not, explaining their reason for their decision.

Although they did not know that it was a nicotine pill, half of the participants chose it over the placebo “saying t improved concentration, alertness, stimulation, energy and better mood.”  But the other half chose the placebo because they said they felt “light-headed, dizzy or sick” when they took the other pill.

The scientists are hoping the information they obtained during the study will be able to “prevent or treat nicotine addiction” in the future especially now that electronic cigarettes have come become popular to youth.

And before we could publish this blog, another article about findings from China on this same subject have named the genes keeping you addicted. Taq1A “plays a role in processing dopamine” in the brain which is released when you smoke and gives you that pleasure.  If you carry a variation of the gene, “known as A2/A2” you had an easier time giving up cigarettes; however, it you carry a variation called A1/A1 or A1/A2, you found it more difficult. According to the findings, the results support “evidence for further investigation of personalized medicine for smoking cessation according to individual genotypes.”

You can read the entire article HERE.


This entry was posted in Cigarettes, Diseases, E-Cigarettes, Nicotine, Smoking, Tobacco Prevention and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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