Genetic Risk Markers for Smoking Progression

Also known as

Project 4 of Social-Emotional Contexts of Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking Patterns (2)


This project tests genetic risk markers for smoking trajectory from adolescence through young adulthood in a cohort collected during the initial program project. We are concentrating on genetic risk markers in neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) but are also considering a limited number of other candidate genes for which there is strong empirical support. We reported previously that CHRNA5-A3-B4 haplotype association with adult nicotine dependence in whites was more robust in smokers who began daily smoking prior to age 17. This strongly suggests a heightened sensitivity to these risk markers in adolescents. This project uses a unique, prospectively studied adolescent cohort with a rich set of longitudinal phenotypes characterizing smoking progression. We are testing possible additive and interactive effects of genetic risk markers and other variables known to be associated with smoking trajectory (e.g., gender, race, substance use, depression, peer influence and parental smoking). Also, we are examining hypotheses regarding the mediation of genetic associations with smoking trajectory by short-term affect regulation and alleviation of nicotine withdrawal by cigarette smoking. Further, we are determining the genetic architecture of nAChR genes within the racial/ethnic groups represented in the study cohort so haplotypespecific genetic risk markers can be tested across races.

Research Partner(s)

This research is part of a larger program project:

Social-Emotional Contexts of Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking Patterns
Principal investigator
Funding Agency

National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. 2P01CA098262-06A1)


Co-Principal Investigators (at Utah)

Dale S. Cannon, PhD
Robert B. Weiss, PhD



Edwin H. Cook, Jr., MD
Hilary Coon, PhD
William McMahon, MD

Start date
End date
About this grant

This is a project within a program project, Social-Emotional Contexts of Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking Patterns (2), whose principal investigator is Professor Robin Mermelstein.

Related publications

See publications supported by this grant on this PubMed list

Hertel AW, Mermelstein RJ. Smoker Identity Development Among Adolescents Who Smoke. Psychol Addict Behav. 2016 May 2. [Epub ahead of print]. [See abstract.]

Piasecki TM, Hedeker D, Dierker LC, Mermelstein RJ. Progression of Nicotine Dependence, Mood Level, and Mood Variability in Adolescent Smokers.Psychol Addict Behav. 2016 Mar 14. [Epub ahead of print]. [See abstract.]

Schuster RM, Mermelstein RJ, Hedeker D. Ecological Momentary Assessment of Working Memory Under Conditions of Simultaneous Marijuana and Tobacco Use. Addiction. 2016 Feb 9. [Epub ahead of print]. [See abstract.]

Cannon DS, Mermelstein RJ, Medina TR, Pugach O, Hedeker D, Weiss RB. CYP2A6 Effects on Subjective Reactions to Initial Smoking Attempt. Nicotine Tob Res. 2016 May;18(5):637-41. [See abstract.]