Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: The Commentary by Drs Carlsten and Burke1 fails to mount a compelling argument to curtail research funding aimed at identification of gene variants relating to smoking or smoking-attributable outcomes. Of 10 311 active National Institutes of Health grants and contracts related to cancer research, only 24 (0.23%) investigate genetic factors in tobacco use.2 Because tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of premature death and accounts for approximately $167 billion annually in health-related costs ($75 billion) and work-related costs ($92 billion),3 this modest investment could transform medicine and public health.
Bierut LJ, Cubells JF, Iacono WG, Li MD, Madden PAF, Nelson EC, Pollock JD, Rutter JL, Swan GE, Vanyukov M. Genetic Research and Smoking Behavior. JAMA. 2007;297(8):809-810. doi:10.1001/jama.297.8.809