Do Genes Make it Harder to Quit Smoking?

The inheritance of specific genetic traits is inevitable. Human beings possess a combination of traits that can either be partially or entirely attributed to one’s biological parents. Hair color, facial features, body shape, and height can all be influenced by genetics. In addition to visible characteristics, people may also inherit certain conditions, or a predisposition for them, at the very least. This includes both mental and physical ailments or tendencies. Addiction potential is believed to be caused by the genes people are born with, at least partially. With this understanding, it would be reasonable to question whether genetics make it harder to quit smoking, and if they influence the likelihood of developing the habit in the first place.

Genetics and Nicotine Dependence

One of the relatively well known facts about smoking is that the addiction is both psychological and physical. To complicate matters even further, some researchers believe that quitting can be made more difficult for certain people because of genetic predisposition. Research focuses on a few specific nicotinic receptors in the brain, and how they are influenced by genetic inheritance. Particularly, scientists have theorized that those with specific variations in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene cluster (essentially just a group of genes that appear together in DNA) may be more vulnerable to developing nicotine dependence, says The National Institute of Health. Variations that are linked to higher rates of smoking are known as high risk variations. More research must be done in this field to conclude if genetics make quitting smoking more difficult, and by how much.

The researchers at The American Cancer Society mention that people of African American descent are more likely to die from smoking-related causes than Caucasian people. This occurrence has been observed even when the amount smoked is the same. It is suggested that this may not be entirely race related, it could be cultural. Specifically, more information needs to be collected pertaining to how race correlates to specific gene clusters, and how those factors may provide good conditions for addiction to develop. As well, more needs to be understood about the biology of tobacco addiction before hard conclusions can be drawn.

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Stop Smoking

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, or deep TMS for short, is a procedure that uses electromagnetic currents to directly alter brain activity. This therapy is used in the treatment of a few mental disorders, and as a smoking cessation tool, as well. The pulses are administered via a helmet filled with coils. Deep TMS therapy for smoking is pain free, non-invasive and regarded as quite safe. Common side effects include headaches during treatment and soreness at the application site. A session of deep TMS takes just 20 minutes, and a full course is complete within four to six weeks. The National Center for Biotechnological Innovation posted a study that assessed the efficacy of deep TMS as a technique to help people quit smoking; 33% of people who underwent two weeks of deep TMS were smoke-free after six months.facts about smoking

Often times, people blame bad habits on outward factors or internal struggles. It is easy to forget that genetic code influences much of why people are the way they are. In the case of quitting smoking, preliminary research shows that a link may exist between genetics and how difficult it is to quit. However, as most people do not receive genetic testing frequently (or ever), this should not be used as an excuse to refrain from quitting, nor should people be discouraged by it. Quitting is difficult no matter what, and may be even more so for those with a particular set of genes. Yet, choosing to live a healthy life should be of high priority, and actively deciding to try to stop smoking, regardless of the difficulties that lay ahead, is a decent place to start.

For those interested in deep transcranial magnetic stimulation as a smoking cessation tool in Los Angeles, Westside Neurotherapeutics, provides these treatments to stop smoking . For more information, contact the company by phone at 310.946.0008 or online at

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