Article

Demography

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1517-1533

Population Composition, Public Policy, and the Genetics of Smoking

  • Jason D. BoardmanAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado Email author 
  • , Casey L. BlalockAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado
  • , Fred C. PampelAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado
  • , Peter K. HatemiAffiliated withDepartments of Political Science, Microbiology, and Biochemistry
  • , Andrew C. HeathAffiliated withMidwest Alcoholism Research Center, Washington University
  • , Lindon J. EavesAffiliated withVirginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Medical College of Virginia

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Abstract

In this article, we explore the effect of public policy on the extent to which genes influence smoking desistance. Using a sample of adult twins (n mz = 363, n dz = 233) from a large population registry, we estimate Cox proportional hazards models that describe similarity in the timing of smoking desistance among adult twin pairs. We show that identical twin pairs are significantly more likely to quit smoking within a similar time frame compared with fraternal twin pairs. Importantly, we then show that genetic factors for smoking desistance increase in importance following restrictive legislation on smoking behaviors that occurred in the early and mid-1970s. These findings support the social push perspective and make important contributions to the social demography and genetic epidemiology of smoking as well as to the gene-environment interaction literatures.

Keywords

Smoking Genetics Gene-environment interaction Policy