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Genetics of Nicotine Addiction: Nature vs. Nurture

Why do some people become addicted to nicotine, while others do not?  Does one become an addict because of genetics, environment and upbringing, or a combination thereof? The longstanding “nature vs. nurture” debate in nicotine addiction brings to our minds.  Scientists now recognize that it is not a question of genes or environment, but rather, how genes and environment interact in complex ways to explain virtually every observable trait.

Genetic factors that influence nicotine addiction may include:

–      Genes that affect nicotine metabolism.

–      Genes that affect brain sensitivity to nicotine and to components in tobacco smoke.

Environmental factors that may influence nicotine addiction include:

–      Peer pressure.

–      Social networks.

–      Concern about weight gain.

–      Media portrayal of tobacco use.

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USA) found that women are far more likely than men to start smoking because of environmental factors, while genetic factors appear to play a bigger role in influencing men to start smoking. However, researchers found no differences between the genders in factors relating to continued smoking, which appeared to be strongly influenced by genetics.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), individual’s health is the result of dynamic interactions between genes and environmental conditions. For example, susceptibility to high blood pressure is influenced by both genetics and lifestyle, including diet, stress, and exercise. Environmental influences, such as exposure to drugs or stress, can alter both gene expression and gene function. In some cases, these effects may persist throughout a person’s life. Research suggests that genes can also influence how a person responds to his or her environment.

Nicotine addiction, whether by genetic or environmental influence, can bring health hazards not only to smokers but also to the surrounding people exposed to smoking.  Nicotine abuse may result in an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, strokes, COPD, asthma, blood clot formation, etc. Nicotine test kits will help a person in checking and monitoring his or her nicotine level effectively and accurately and thus decrease its adverse effects.  Testcountry.com offers different types of at-home nicotine test kits to choose from.





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Answers, comments, information, articles and opinions provided on all TestCountry related webpages are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, counseling, psychological, or other professional advice. You should not use the information on TestCountry for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. You should always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, rehabilitation or detoxification from any substance abuse or adopting any treatment for a health or drug problem.

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