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Cigarette smoking behaviors and the importance of ethnicity and genetic ancestry

Cigarette smoking contributes to numerous diseases and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Smoking behaviors vary widely across race/ethnicity, but it is not clear why. Here, we examine the contribution of genetic ancestry to variation in two smoking-related traits in 43,485 individuals from four race/ethnicity groups (non-Hispanic white, Hispanic/Latino, East Asian, and African American) from a single U.S. healthcare plan. Smoking prevalence was the lowest among East Asians (22.7%) and the highest among non-Hispanic whites (38.5%). We observed significant associations between genetic ancestry and smoking-related traits. Within East Asians, we observed higher smoking prevalence with greater European (versus Asian) ancestry (P = 9.95 × 10-12). Within Hispanic/Latinos, higher cigarettes per day (CPD) was associated with greater European ancestry (P = 3.34 × 10-25). Within non-Hispanic whites, the lowest number of CPD was observed for individuals of southeastern European ancestry (P = 9.06 × 10-5). These associations remained after considering known smoking-associated loci, education, socioeconomic factors, and marital status. Our findings support the role of genetic ancestry and socioeconomic factors in cigarette smoking behaviors in non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic/Latinos, and East Asians.

Authors: Choquet, Hélène; Yin, Jie; Jorgenson, Eric

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 02 11;11(1):120. Epub 2021-02-11.

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