Smoking Gene Linked to Chronic Smokers

Do genetics really play a factor in chronic smoking?

Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG

There have recently been studies linking a smoking gene to chronic smokers. I did some research and find myself skeptical about the findings. 

An Australian study did show that chronic smoking changes expression of genes within the prefrontal cortex of smokers. I believe that is likely to be true. Think about it. Chronic smoking does lead to cardiovascular changes. Decreased oxygenation of tissues occurs. That is a verified fact. So, I do not doubt that changes can occur in the brain as a result of nicotine and poor oxygenation of the brain.

Other studies find that people with certain genotypes have increased occurrences of COPD and chronic bronchitis. Again, that seems logical. My guess is that these individuals have a “weakness" in immune or respiratory function that may indeed be genetic. Some of these individuals have documented pulmonary function deficits. Chronic air flow problems may result in right ventricular heart failure. All of that makes sense to me.

What does not make sense to me is that there is an actual smoking gene linked to chronic smokers. While I agree that there may be a genetic component to addiction, smoking is not a “normal” function for humans or mammals.

Some people may say, "Well, isn’t alcoholism an inherited trait?”. My response is that a genetic link to alcoholism is more likely than that for smoking. Alcohol is naturally produced when the body breaks down fruit sugars. Granted, it is in small amounts, but theoretically, there may be a genetic link there.

However, smoking and nicotine addictions are different. Humans have not regularly consumed nicotine containing substances as food, and smoking is certainly not practiced by other species. Personally, I find the idea of a smoking gene unlikely. I stress that I am only offering a professional and logical opinion. I have not personally conducted research in the field.

What I do know, on a professional as well as personal basis, is that smoking kills. My father died from lung cancer at age 57 after many years of smoking. If you are a smoker, you need to stop. Do it for you and those you love.

It may be incredibly difficult.

I admit, I am not a smoker, so I do not pretend know firsthand just how hard it will be. I have loved ones who have quit and those who have not. I have heard that kicking nicotine is sometimes harder than kicking heroin.

If you need help, find a program that “rings a bell" for you. Do it today. Native Remedies has some products that may help. The ingredients can help you deal with the jitters, cravings and irritability that smokers often experience when quitting.

Notice that I said, quitting, not trying to quit. You will be successful this time. I wish you the best. Use the tools in your community and the tools from Native Remedies. Use whatever you need, but just quit.

I am a hospice nurse. I have seen too many people die way too young. I’ve seen too many families suffer.

Use whatever tools work for you. Just quit. Let the amazing people at Native Remedies know how you are doing and how we can help. We are here to support you through this life changing decision. Contact us if you need help. We will stand with you in this battle and celebrate with you in your success. You can and will beat this thing called nicotine addiction.

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