CHICAGO (Reuters) - For most people, the first experimental drags on
a cigarette bring on nausea, coughing and other signals from the brain
that say, "Turn back. This is a bad idea." But for some, they bring a
wave of pleasure.
Those in the second group likely bear a gene type that not only
increases their addiction risk, but has been implicated in the
development of lung cancer, researchers said on Friday.
"If you have this variant, you are going to like your earliest
experiences with smoking," said Ovide Pomerleau of the University of
Michigan Medical School, whose research appears in the journal
Pomerleau said the finding suggests that for some, smoking even one
cigarette is a bad idea. "It's a trap," he said in a telephone
"What they don't realize is if they have this kind of genetic
make-up, they are on their way to dependency," he said, and that raises
their risk for lung cancer.
The research is part of a growing understanding of genetic factors involved in nicotine addiction and lung cancer.
Teams of scientists reported earlier this year that smokers who had
certain changes in three nicotine receptor genes -- which control entry
of nicotine into brain cells -- were more likely to develop lung cancer
than other smokers.
This week, Canadian researchers said that, by manipulating receptors
for the chemical dopamine, they were able to control which rats in a
study enjoyed their first exposure to nicotine and which were repelled