Environmental and genetic determinants of tobacco use: methodology for a multidisciplinary, longitudinal family-based investigation

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003 Oct;12(10):994-1005.


This article describes the ongoing collaborative effort of six research teams to operationalize and execute an integrative approach to the study of gene x environment interactions in the development of tobacco dependence. At the core of the project is a longitudinal investigation of social and behavioral risk factors for tobacco use in individuals who were, on average, 13 years of age at intake and for whom smoking outcomes extending from early adolescence to young adulthood have been characterized previously (current average age of the cohort is 29 years). The conceptual framework for the integrative approach and the longitudinal investigation on which the study is based is presented. A description is also provided of the methods used to: (a) recruit participants and families to provide DNA samples and information on tobacco use; (b) assess participants for relevant tobacco-related phenotypes including smoking history, current use of tobacco, and nicotine metabolism; (c) assess the quality of the DNA samples collected from participants for genome-wide scanning and candidate gene analysis; (d) examine several research questions concerning the role of genetic and environmental factors in the onset and maintenance of tobacco use; and (e) ensure adherence to local and federal guidelines for ethical and legal investigations of genotypic associations with tobacco-related phenotypes in families. This investigation is unique among ongoing studies of the genetics of tobacco dependence in the extent to which equal importance has been assigned to both phenotypic and genotypic measurements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • DNA / analysis
  • Environment
  • Ethics, Professional
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Ganglionic Stimulants / metabolism
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / metabolism
  • Patient Selection
  • Phenotype
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / etiology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / genetics*


  • Ganglionic Stimulants
  • Nicotine
  • DNA