Smokers and Quitting

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A study has found that some smokers may get more pleasure from nicotine than others because of variations in their brain. This could make quitting even harder for those affected. Dr. Edward Hill discusses the study in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Quitting smoking is never easy, but some smokers have an even harder time kicking the habit, and it may be that they derive more pleasure from nicotine.

A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may also help with the development of more effective quitting strategies for smokers.

Researchers used PET scans to capture images of the number of opioid receptors in the brains of smokers. Smokers with greater numbers of these receptors seem to derive more pleasure from nicotine, and as a result may have a harder time quitting.

The ability to quit smoking is influenced by a number of psychological, social and environmental factors, but also genetic factors. For some people, genetic variations may make it more difficult to quit than for someone else who smokes the same amount for same amount of time.

There may be a role for personalized medicine when it comes to smoking cessation, the researchers say. Personalized medicine takes the trial and error out of matching treatment by making decisions based on genetic profiles.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.