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Eur Respir J. 2009 Mar;33(3):468-80. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00056908.

Genetic variation as a predictor of smoking cessation success. A promising preventive and intervention tool for chronic respiratory diseases?

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  • 1Care and Public Health Research Institute (Caphri), Department of General Practice, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Tobacco smoking continues to be the largest preventable cause of premature morbidity and mortality throughout the world, including chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Although most smokers are highly motivated to quit and many smoking cessation therapies are available, cessation rates remain very low. Recent research strongly suggests that variation in genetic background is an important determinant of smoking behaviour and addiction. Since these genetic variants might also influence the response to smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, it is likely that assessment of genetic background could be a promising tool to guide selection of the most effective cessation treatment for an individual smoker. Recently, it has been shown that genetic variants in the dopaminergic system, opioid receptors, the bupropion-metabolising enzyme CYP2B6 and the nicotine-metabolising enzyme CYP2A6 may play an important role in predicting smoking cessation responses to nicotine replacement therapy and bupropion treatment. Despite the progress that has been made, several challenges will still have to be overcome before genetically tailored smoking cessation therapy can be implemented in standard clinical practice.

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