Genetic Influences on Smoking Behavior

  • Andrew C. Heath
  • Pamela A. F. Madden
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


In this chapter, we review evidence that suggests important genetic influences on smoking. These influences may affect the probability that an individual will become a smoker and, once he or she has started smoking, may affect how heavily the individual smokes and the probability that he or she will not quit smoking. We shall broadly summarize these measures under the heading “smoking behavior.” In contrast to the many twin and adoption studies designed to explore the possibility of a genetic contribution to alcoholism risk (see Heath, Slutske, & Madden [1995] and Chapter 2), there has been comparatively little research focused on understanding the genetic contribution to smoking behavior (for an early exception to this statement, see Eaves & Eysenck, 1980). This neglect is surprising, when one considers that the adverse health consequences of smoking, both to the smoker (USDHEW, 1979) and to others in the smoker’s environment (USDHHS, 1986), and the consequent enormous economic costs of smoking to society, are well established.


Smoking Behavior Genetic Influence Twin Pair Smoking Initiation Current Smoking Status 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Begleiter, H., Porjesz, B., Bihari, B., and Kissin. B. (1984). Event-related brain potentials in boys at risk for alcoholism. Science, 225, 1493–1496.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boomsma, D. I., Koopmans, J. R., van Doomen, L. J. P., and Orlebeke, J. F. (1994). Genetic and social influences on starting to smoke: A study of Dutch adolescent twins and their parents. Addiction, 89, 219–226.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carmelli, D., Swan, G. E., Robinette, D., and Fabsitz, R. (1992). Genetic influence on smoking-a study of male twins. New England Journal of Medicine, 327, 881–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cavalli-Sforza, L. L., and Feldman, M. (1981). Cultural transmission and evolution: A quantitative approach. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cederlof, R., Epstein, F. H., Friberg, L. T., Hrubec, Z., and Radford, E. P. (1971). Twin registries in the study of chronic diseases (with particular reference to the relation of smoking to cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases). Acta Media Scandinavica Supplementum, 523, 1–40.Google Scholar
  6. Chassin, L., Presson, C., Sherman, S. J., Cortz, E., and Olshaysky, R. W. (1984). Predicting the onset of cigarette smoking in adolescents: A longitudinal study. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 14, 224–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cloninger, C. R., Przybeck, T. R., and Svrakic, D. M. (1991). The tridimensional personality questionnaire: U.S. normative data. Psychological Reports, 69, 1047–1057.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Collins, A. C., and Marks, M. J. (1989). Chronic nicotine exposure and brain nicotinic receptors-influence of genetic factors. Progress in Brain Research, 79, 137–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eaves, L. J. (1982). The utility of twins. In V. E. Anderson, W. A. Hauser, J. K. Penry, and C. F. Sing (Eds.), Genetic basis of the epilepsies (pp. 249–276 ). New York: Raven Press.Google Scholar
  10. Eaves, L. J., and Eysenck, H. J. (1980). The genetics of smoking. In H. J. Eysenck (Ed.), The causes and effects of smoking (pp. 140–314 ). London: Maurice Temple Smith.Google Scholar
  11. Eaves, L. J., Eysenck, H. J., and Martin, N. G. (1989). Genes, culture and personality: An empirical approach. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. Eaves, L. J., Last, K., Young, P. A., and Martin, N. G. (1978). Model-fitting approaches to the analysis of human behavior. Heredity, 41, 249–320.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Falconer, D. S. (1965). The inheritance of liability to certain diseases estimated from the incidence among relatives. Annals of Human Genetics, 29, 51–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fisher, R. A. (1958). Cancer and smoking. Nature, 182, 596.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fisher, R. A. (1959). Smoking, the cancer controversy: Some attempts to assess the evidence. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.Google Scholar
  16. Hannah, M. C., Hopper, J. L., and Mathews, J. D. (1985). Twin concordance for a binary trait. II. Nested analysis of ever-smoking and ex-smoking traits and unnested analysis of a “committed-smoking” trait. American Journal of Human Genetics, 37, 153–165.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Heath, A. C. (1990). Persist or quit? Testing for a genetic contribution to smoking persistence. Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae, 39, 447–458.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Heath, A. C., Cates, R. C., Martin, N. G., Meyer, J., Hewitt, J. K., Neale, M. C., and Eaves, L. J. (1993a). Genetic contribution to risk of smoking initiation: Comparisons across birth cohorts and across cultures. Journal of Substance Abuse, 5, 221–246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heath, A. C., Cloninger, C. R., and Martin, N. G. (1994a). Testing a model for the genetic structure of personality: A comparison of the personality systems of Cloninger and Eysenck. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 762–775.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Heath, A. C., Jardine, R., and Martin, N. G. (1989). Interactive effects of genotype and social environment on alcohol consumption in female twins. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 50, 38–48.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Heath, A. C., and Madden, P. A. F. (1993). Personality correlates of smoking behavior: A genetic perspective. Paper presented at the American Society of Addiction Medicine Nicotine Dependence Conference, Atlanta, November 11–14.Google Scholar
  22. Heath, A. C., and Martin, N. G. (1993). Genetic models for the natural history of smoking: Evidence for a genetic influence on smoking persistence. Addictive Behaviors, 18, 19–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Heath, A. C., Slutske, W. S., and Madden, P. A. F. (in press). Gender differences in the genetic contribution to alcoholism risk and drinking patterns. In R. W. Wilsnack and S. C. Wilsnack (Eds.), Gender and alcohol Rutgers, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Heath, A. C., Todorov, A. A., Madden, P. A. F., Bucholz, K. K., and Dinwiddie, S. H. (1993b). Modelling the role of genetic factors in the natural history of substance use disorders. Paper presented at the World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics, New Orleans.Google Scholar
  25. Hopper, J. L., White, V. M., Macaskill, G. T., Hill, D. J., and Clifford, C. A. (1992). Alcohol use, smoking habit and the Junior Eysenck Personality Questionnaire in adolescent Australian twins. Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae, 41, 311–324.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hrubec, Z., and Neel, J. V. (1978). The National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council Twin Registry: Ten years of operation. In W. E. Nance (Ed.), Twin research: Part B. Biology and epidemiology (pp. 153–172 ). New York: Alan R. Liss.Google Scholar
  27. Hughes, J. R. (1986). Genetics of smoking: A brief review. Behavior Therapy, 17, 335–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kaprio, J., Hammar, N., Koskenvuo, M., Floderus-Myrhed, B., Langinvainio, H., and Santa, S. (1982). Cigarette smoking and alcohol use in Finland and Sweden: A cross-national twin study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 11, 378–386.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kaprio, J., Sama, S., Koskenvuo, M., and Rantasalo, I. (1978). The Finnish Twin Registry: Baseline characteristics. Section II. Helsinki: University of Helsinki Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kendler, K. S., Neale, M. C., MacLean, C. J., Heath, A. C., Eaves, L. J., and Kessler, R. C. (1993). Smoking and major depression: A causal analysis. Archives of General Psychiatry, 50, 36–43.Google Scholar
  31. Loehlin, J. C. (1992). Genes and environment in personality development: Individual differences and developmental series, Vol. 2. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  32. Loehlin, J. C., and Nichols, R. C. (1976). Heredity, environment, and personality: A study of 850 sets of twins. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  33. Madden, P. A. F., Heath, A. C., Bucholz, K. K., Dinwiddie, S. H., Dunne, M. P., and Martin, N. G. (1993a). Genetics and smoking. Paper presented at the 55th annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Toronto, June 12–17.Google Scholar
  34. Madden, P. A. F., Heath, A. C., Bucholz, K. K., Dinwiddie, S. H., Dunne, M. P., and Martin, N. G. (1993b). Novelty seeking and the genetic determinants of smoking initiation and problems related to alcohol use in female twins. Paper presented at the 23rd annual meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association, Sydney, July 13–16.Google Scholar
  35. Madden, P. A. F., Heath, A. C., Bucholz, K. K., Dinwiddie, S. H., Dunne, M. P., and Martin, N. G. (1993c). The genetic relationship between problems related to alcohol use, smoking initiation and personality. Paper presented at the meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, San Antonio, June 19–24.Google Scholar
  36. Marks, M. J., Stitzek, J. A., and Collins, A. C. (1986). Dose-response analysis of nicotine tolerance and receptor changes in two inbred mouse strains. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 239, 358–364.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Medlund, P., Cederlof, R., Floderus-Myrhed, B., Friberg, L., and Sorensen, S. (1977). A new Swedish twin registry. Acta Medica Scandinavica Supplementum, 600, 1–11.Google Scholar
  38. Meyer, J. M., Heath, A. C., and Eaves, L. J. (1992). Using multidimensional scaling on data from pairs of relatives to explore the dimensionality of categorical multifactorial traits. Genetic Epidemiology, 9, 87–107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mittelmark, M. B., Murray, D. M., Luepker, R. V., Pechacek, T. F., Pirie, P. L., and Pallonen, U. E. (1987). Predicting experimentation with cigarettes: The childhood antecedents of smoking study (CASS). American Journal of Public Health, 77, 206–208.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. National Health and Medical Research Council (1962). Smoking and lung cancer: Report of the 53rd Session of the NHMRC. Canberra: Commonwealth Government Printer.Google Scholar
  41. Neale, M. C., and Cardon, L. R. (1992). Methodology for genetic studies of twins and families: NATO ASI Series. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  42. Ogawa, H., Tominaga, S., Gellert, G., and Acki, K. (1988). Smoking among junior high school students in Nagoya, Japan. International Journal of Epidemiology, 17, 814–820.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Olsson, U. (1979). Maximum-likelihood estimation of the polychoric coefficient. Psychometrika, 44, 443–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Olsson, U., Drasgow, F., and Dorans, N. J. (1982). The polyserial correlation coefficient. Psychometrika, 47, 337–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pearson, K. (1900). Mathematical contribution to the theory of evolution. VII. On the correlation of character not quantitatively measurable. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series, A, 195, 1–47.Google Scholar
  46. Peto, R., Lopez, A. D., Boreham, J., Thun, M., and Heath, C. (1992). Mortality from tobacco in developed countries: Indirect estimation from national vital statistics. Lancet, 339, 1268–1278.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pierce, J. P., Fiore, M. C., Novotny, T. E., Hatziandreu, E. J., and Davis, R. M. (1989a). Trends in cigarette smoking in the United States: Educational differences are increasing. Journal of the American Medical Association, 261, 56–60.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pierce, J. P., Fiore, M. C., Novotny, T. E., Hatziandreu, E. J., and Davis, R. M. (1989b). Trends in cigarette smoking in the United States: Projections to the year 2000. Journal of the American Medical Association, 261, 61–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Plomin, R., and Daniels, D. (1987). Why are children in the same family so different from one another? Behavioral Brain Sciences, 10, 1–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pollock, V. E. (1992). Meta-analysis of subjective sensitivity to alcohol in sons of alcoholics. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 1534–1538.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Pomerleau, O. F., Collins, A. C., Shiffman, S., and Pomerleau, C. S. (1993a). Why some people smoke and others do not: New perspectives. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 723–731.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pomerleau, O. F., Hariharan, M., Pomerleau, C. S., Cameron, O. G., and Guthrie, S. K. (1993b). Differences between smokers and never-smokers in sensitivity to nicotine: A preliminary report. Addiction, 88, 113–118.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Raaschou-Nielsen, E. (1960). Smoking habits in twins. Danish Medical Bulletin, 7, 82–88.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Royal College of Physicians of London (1962). Smoking and health. New York: Pitman Publishing.Google Scholar
  55. Shiffman, S. (1989). Tobacco “chippers”: Individual differences in tobacco dependence. Psychopharmacology, 97, 539–547.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Swan, A. V., Creeser, R., and Murray, M. (1990). When and why children first start to smoke. International Journal of Epidemiology, 19, 323–330.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tabakoff, B., Whelan, J. P., and Hoffman, P. L. (1990). Two biological markers of alcoholism. In C. R. Cloninger and H. Begleiter (Eds.), Banbury report 33: Genetics and biology of alcoholism (pp. 195–202 ). Plainview, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.Google Scholar
  58. Tsuang, M. T., Lyons, M. J., Eisen, S. A., True, W. T., Goldberg, J., and Henderson, W. (1992). A twin study of drug exposure and initiation of use. Behavior Genetics, 22, 756.Google Scholar
  59. USDHEW (U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare) (1979). Smoking and health: Report of the Surgeon General Rockville, MD: Public Health Service, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office on Smoking and Health, DHEW Publication No. 79–50066.Google Scholar
  60. USDHHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) (1986). The health consequences of involuntary smoking: Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Public Health Service, Office on Smoking and Health, DHHS Publication No. 87–8398.Google Scholar
  61. USDHHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) (1988). The health consequences of smoking: Nicotine addiction: Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Public Health Service, Office on Smoking and Health, DHHS Publication No. 88–8406.Google Scholar
  62. USDHHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) (1989). Reducing the health consequences of smoking: 25 Years of progress: Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control Office on Smoking and Health, DHHS Publication NO. 89–8411.Google Scholar
  63. USPHS (U.S. Public Health Service) (1964). Smoking and health. Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Health Services and Mental Health Administration, PHS Publication No. 1103 ). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  64. Vogler, G. P., and Fulker, D. W. (1983). Familial resemblance for educational attainment. Behavior Genetics, 13, 341–354.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew C. Heath
    • 1
  • Pamela A. F. Madden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations