May is No Tobacco Month and DNAlysis has the tools you need to quit smoking – for good this time!

When smokers consider their decision to quit their habit, a common motivating question is, “how much money would I save if I did not need to buy x amount of boxes of cigarettes a day?” or “how many years does each cigarette take off of my life expectancy?” Did you know that not only does smoking damage your organs, but it damages your DNA too? Furthermore, the key to successfully leaving behind nicotine habits could lie within your DNA.

“There is a particular gene that is involved in the brain’s reward system which can help a person quit smoking successfully, depending on which variant of the gene they have,” said Dr Danny Meyersfeld, CEO of DNAlysis Biotechnology. “Smokers with the DRD2 A2/A2 genotype are three times more likely to be abstinent from cigarettes at the end of treatment than non-carriers of this genotype.”

The DRD2 gene helps the brain recognise dopamine which is the neurotransmitter that recognises pleasure and happiness. Addictive substances cause the dopamine in a person’s brain to spike and therefore the brain internalises that the substance must be a good thing, even if the rest of the body disagrees. The brain then signals to the body that it needs more of the dopamine-spiking substances and hence an addiction is developed. This principle is how smokers develop their addictions.

Researchers from Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China conducted a number of studies where they tested a large quantity of current and past smoker’s DNA. They found that 62.5% of the ex-smokers had the DNA variant A2/A2 of the DRD2 gene and had been successful when quitting smoking. The remaining participants did not have this gene variant and their treatment had not proved as successful. “By being able to specify which genes are responsible for addiction, we can help personalise treatments to patients and increase the success rate of beating addiction,” said Dr Meyersfeld. “This model can extend to helping drug addicts too.”

Even if a patient tests negative for the A2/A2 gene variant, it should not discourage them from quitting smoking. “Within 20 minutes of not smoking, the body already begins to heal itself from the nicotine in their system, and your heart begins to work better,” said Dr Meyersfeld. “The body is an amazing organism and we should give it more credit.”

If you and your clinician are looking for answers which lie within your DNA, get in touch with us