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Genetics partly to blame for smoking habits, say scientists

Published on 28/04/2010
The likelihood of someone taking up smoking, the number of cigarettes they smoke and the impact of the habit on their lungs are all at least partly determined by genes, scientists have discovered.

Research conducted in three separate studies has identified several genetic mutations that appear to govern how much people smoke.

Other genes have been linked to how likely a person is to start smoking while another determines their chances of being able to quit.

In one study, led by a team of scientists at deCODE Genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland, it was found that a specific gene combination causes people to smoke more while at the same time increases their chances of getting lung cancer.

Dr Kari Stefansson, executive chairman of deCODE, said: "Smoking is bad for anyone's health. It is even worse for some, and today's discoveries continue to strengthen our ability to identify who those people are and give them a compelling additional reason to quit."

Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the UK. According to the most recent statistics from Cancer Research, around 39,000 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2006.

Smokers could find it more difficult to find affordable medical insurance, as the habit is considered a major risk factor for a range of diseases.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  HealthMedical
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