Evidence suggesting the role of specific genetic factors in cigarette smoking

Health Psychol. 1999 Jan;18(1):14-20. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.18.1.14.


Twin studies suggest that propensity to smoke and ability to quit smoking are influenced by genetic factors. As a means of investigating the risk of smoking associated with genetic polymorphisms in the dopamine transporter (SLC6A3) and the D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) genes, a case-control study of 289 smokers and 233 nonsmoking controls and a case series analysis of smokers were conducted. A significant effect for SLC6A3 and a significant gene-gene interaction were found in a logistic regression model, indicating that individuals with SLC6A3-9 genotypes were significantly less likely to be smokers, especially if they also had DRD2-A2 genotypes. Smokers with SLC6A3-9 genotypes were also significantly less likely to have started smoking before 16 years of age and had prior smoking histories indicating a longer period of prior smoking cessation. This study provides preliminary evidence that the SLC6A3 gene may influence smoking initiation and nicotine dependence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Black People / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics*
  • Smoking / genetics*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data
  • Statistics as Topic
  • White People / genetics


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • SLC6A3 protein, human