, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1517–1533 | Cite as

Population Composition, Public Policy, and the Genetics of Smoking

  • Jason D. Boardman
  • Casey L. Blalock
  • Fred C. Pampel
  • Peter K. Hatemi
  • Andrew C. Heath
  • Lindon J. Eaves


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.


Smoking Genetics Gene-environment interaction Policy 



The research presented in this article is part of a larger study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (K01 HD 50336). Research funds were also provided by the NIH/NICHD-funded CU Population Center (R21 HD 051146-01). The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and Jane Menken for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason D. Boardman
    • 1
  • Casey L. Blalock
    • 1
  • Fred C. Pampel
    • 1
  • Peter K. Hatemi
    • 2
  • Andrew C. Heath
    • 3
  • Lindon J. Eaves
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Institute of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Political ScienceMicrobiology, and BiochemistryUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Midwest Alcoholism Research CenterWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral GeneticsMedical College of VirginiaRichmondUSA

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