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February 28, 2007

Genetic Research and Smoking Behavior

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2007;297(8):809-810. 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.