Genetics May Contribute To Smoking Addiction

Many Americans are regular smokers, but aspire to quit instead of suffering the negative consequences. A recent study released by Nature online shows that kicking the habit might get easier in the near future, thanks to new data from scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida.

The team of researchers found that a genetically-modified neurological receptor in mice heightened their cravings for nicotine, according to FOX News. Approximately one-third of humans have similar receptors that can be geared toward nicotine addiction once an individual begins smoking. Experts say that these people therefore find it more difficult to quit smoking once they begin and have an increased chance of death as a result of smoking-related illnesses.

Scientists from Scripps believe that their findings will help researchers develop more efficient ways to quell cravings in smokers. Nicotine patches are commonly used to treat the addiction, but smokers with this gene may be susceptible to developing a dependency on these products. Experts may be able to develop more effective treatments with data from the Scripps study.

Smoking is responsible for one out of every five deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug rehab programs may be able to help individuals who are addicted to nicotine.