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February 28, 2007

Genetic Research and Smoking Behavior

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo
  • 2Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga
  • 3Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, Mo
  • 7Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Md
  • 8gary.swan@sri.com, Center for Health Sciences, SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif
  • 9Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa
JAMA. 2007;297(8):809. doi:10.1001/jama.297.8.809

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.

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