If I smoke, whether my child will smoke too ?
Some days back, one of my friends told me that she is worried about her 14yr old son who started smoking regularly !! and in spite of her warning, he did not stop it. She said, I don’t know, why these kids start to smoke? Is it because of the media or movies? or Is it because of his friend circle? Or is there anything else making them try and get addicted to smoking? why in the world my son started smoking at such early stage?
I understood her concern and what really made me think of her question was Why part. I calmly asked her, Do your hubby also smoke sometime ? as per my expectation, her answer was Yes, sometimes nowadays. So, Is it because since her husband smokes, her son also started smoking? Is it because he inspired from his dad ? or is it because he felt it is okay to smoke as his dad smokes ? or Is it because Smoking is Genetic?
We did a crowdsource open survey from interested candidates from the age group of 12- 50 yrs with the help of one of survey company. Though we knew the genetics behind the habit of smoking, I just wanted to make sure that it is actually what genetics says!
Some of the survey questions are here:
After analyzing the survey from all the candidates we found some interesting facts
- We found most of the smoker’s father was smoker too (17342 out of 25000)
- We found most of the smoker’s mother was not a smoker.
- We found most of the smokers tend to take more risks or ( adventures) than non-smokers
- We found most of the smokers felt the need for smoke regularly or frequently.
Let’s understand the genetics behind the habit of smoking.
How is Smoking Genetic? How child inherit smoking from its father’s?
In order to explain the overview of how the habit of smoking is genetic, I would like to stick to our above findings.
People start smoking in different ways, one is they just want to try how it feels? they always have curiosity and want to see what happens after smoking, sometime’s their friends asks them to try and go for it. sometime’s it’s for fun. Children always tend to do what their parents does/did. Especially when the child enters adolescence phase then its role of parents becomes very critical. If the child knows that their father also smokes and get the feeling that nothing happens because of smoking, then they feel motivated, inspired and feel secure that nothing happens as their father is already doing it.
In human chromosome 11 is coded by Dopamine Receptor D4 gene which is known as DRD4. This gene has 2-11 repeats. DRD4 protein is expressed in many regions of the brain. Mutations in DRD4 gene can lead to major disorders related to brain, behaviors abnormality, addictive behaviors or other psychological disorders.
DRD4 -4R and DRD4-7R repeats variants of this gene highly influence the behavior of taking risks knowingly. Risk taking can be adventure sports, thriller games, thrill seeking activities, mountain climbing, stunt racing, speedy races, or some kind of risks which can vary from people to people. Among all that Smoking is one of popular risk that people would like to take up knowing that it is not good for your health. The frequency of repeats of alleles in DRD4-4R repeats are 65.1% and that of DRD4-7R repeats are 19.2%. But the amount of risk taking is more in the people who has DRD4-7R repeats than that of DRD4-4R repeats.
So if you are the smoker and has DRD4-7R or DRD4-4R genes, then it’s more likely that your child will inherit the habit of smoking. Though DRD4-7R genes lead to many other disorders. But as long as science proves to be right and if you have above-said genes then it’s more likely that your child will end up being smoker.
Let’s understand how these smokers get addicted to smoking?
When people start to smoke, they start to consume nicotine. They say it gives them pleasure. Smoking gives them pleasure because of nicotine’s action on the brain. Nicotine increases the level of the neurotransmitter called dopamine. They also cause the release of other neurotransmitters and hormones that affect your mood, memory, and more.
Dopamine is the one which is involved in producing feelings of pleasure. So as and when you smoke, nicotine amount stimulates the dopamine and you start to feel good and relaxed in your own way.
You had a smoke now and you feel like to have another smoke only when the feeling of pleasure has vanished. Means, as long the feeling of pleasure remains in you then the necessity of next smoke is less.
Cytochrome P450 2A6 is a gene which helps in the metabolism of nicotine. Means, CYP2A6 (Cytochrome P450 2A6) is responsible for the oxidation of cotinine and nicotine amount present in the body. So the presence of CYP2A6 will get rid of nicotine from the body.
So once CYP2A6 removes nicotine from the body then the need for smoke increases. So this makes another smoke and another after and it goes on in the smoker and making them addicted to smoking.
Well, you have seen some people who actually start to smoke but they don’t get addicted to it. Even they quit smoking easily. Few people smoke very very rarely, may be at parties or when they are with friends. It is because they will have a slow metabolism for nicotine because of the different variant of CYP2A6 gene.
So, in short, the summary is, If your child has inherited Cytochrome P450 2A6 and Dopamine Receptor D4 -repeats 4 or Dopamine Receptor D4-repeats 7 genes then he will end up smoking like you do.
Quit Smoking Now, It’s good for you and for the generations of yours !!