New research suggests that some people are more likely than others to get hooked on cigarettes, which may have implications for prevention and treatment of nicotine addiction.
The finding is based on what researchers say is the first effort ever to analyze exactly how people react the first time they come into contact with a small amount of nicotine.
“When you give people nicotine for the first time, most people don’t like it. It’s different from many other addictive drugs, for which most people say they enjoy the first experience and would try it again,” said study author Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
In a university news release, he said the study suggests “there are definitely some people who are nicotine avoiders and others who are nicotine choosers, and there are probably genetic or metabolic vulnerabilities that make people fall into one group or the other.”
Griffiths and his colleagues discussed their findings in a recent issue of Psychopharmacology.
To explore nicotine addiction, investigators focused on 18 healthy adults who had never smoked or had only ever smoked a few cigarettes.