Genes: An extra hurdle to quitting smoking during pregnancy?

Pregnant woman smokingResearchers from the Peninsula Medical School and the University of Bristol, using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and the Exeter Family Study of Childhood Health, have identified a common genetic variant that explains why some women may find it more difficult to quit smoking during pregnancy.

Their paper, "A common genetic variant in 15q24 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene cluster (CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4) is associated with a reduced ability of women to quit smoking in pregnancy", is published in Human Molecular Genetics.

Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight and problems at birth. Statistically, women are more likely to quit smoking during pregnancy that at any other time in the lives, but some pregnant women continue to smoke despite a strong and direct public health message.

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