A team of Japanese scientists have found a gene closely linked to nicotine addiction, which could lead to more effective ways for smokers to kick the habit, a Japanese daily said on Wednesday.
The team at Osaka University found that among heavy smokers — defined as those who light up as soon as they get up in the morning — a gene responsible for producing an enzyme that breaks down nicotine is more active than others, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.
After examining the gene CYP2A6 among 300 smokers and those who had smoked in the past, the scientists found that 70 percent of those with a highly active type of the gene were highly addicted to nicotine.
The percentage of heavy smokers among those with a less active CYP2A6 was lower at 40 percent, the finding showed.
If doctors can find out the type of the gene in patients who want to quit smoking, they can change treatment methods accordingly, such as adjusting the amount of nicotine patches prescribed to the smoker, the paper said.