Background: The use of psychoactive substances is one of the most dangerous social problems
worldwide. Nicotine dependence results from the interaction between neurobiological, environmental and genetic
factors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a wide range of central nervous system activities. The serotonin
transporter gene has been previously linked to psychological traits.
Objective: A variable number of tandem repeats within the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic gene region are
believed to alter the transcriptional efficiency of the 5-HTT gene. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the association
between this polymorphic site and smoking behavior in the Turkish Cypriot population.
Methods: A total of 259 (100 smokers, 100 non-smokers and 59 ex-smokers) Turkish Cypriots were included in this
population-based cross-sectional study. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood samples and the
5-HTTVNTR2 polymorphisms were determined by the PCR-RFLP.
Results: The allelic frequency and genotype distribution results of this study showed a strong association (P<0.0001)
between smokers and non-smokers. No statistical significance was found between non-smokers and ex-smokers.
Conclusion: This is the first genetic epidemiology study to investigate the allelic frequencies of 5-HTTVNTR2
polymorphisms associated with smoking behavior in the Turkish Cypriot population. Based on the results of this
study, genome-wide association studies should be designed for preventive medicine in this population.