Can Genetics Help in Treatment of Smoking Addiction?
Emmi Tiili and Ari Hirvonen
Affiliation: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland.
Keywords: Genetic polymorphism, nicotine replacement therapy, personalized therapeutics, smoking addiction, tobacco
Although the harmful health effects of smoking are well-known, roughly fifth of mankind is still smoking.
Because quitting smoking is difficult mainly due to the addictive effect of nicotine, several attempts have been made to
ease this in the smoking cessation process. These attempts have been complicated by existence of a substantial variability
in the nicotine addiction and relapse times, shown to be attributable to both environmental and genetic factors. The new
emerging means like personalized medicine are hoped to help in overcoming the obstacles caused by the inherited factors
in the treatment of tobacco dependence. The personalized treatment of smokers would be cost-effective, safe from
gratuitous medicine taking and would improve the success rate of long term abstinence, which all can be enabled by the
means of genetic studies. The impact of genetic factors on individual response to smoking cessation treatments has
therefore been of great interest during the recent years. The focus of these studies has been on relationship between
candidate gene polymorphisms and individual differences in smoking behavior and ability to quit smoking, especially
considering the impact of multiple genetic variants of some smoking-related pathway on both nicotine dependence and
individual response to smoking cessation treatments. This expert review summarizes the present knowledge on the genetic
factors in smoking addiction and the potential of this knowledge to advance the future smoking cessation actions.
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