Nav: Home

UCI Tobacco research center reports why teens are most vulnerable to smoking addiction

May 20, 2004

Irvine, Calif., May 20, 2004 -- Teenagers have long been regarded as the age group most vulnerable to the addictive lure of cigarettes, and a new report compiling five years of studies from a UC Irvine tobacco research program provides details why this is very likely true.

The report, "Closing the Gap on Youth Tobacco Use," determines that adolescents are more susceptible than adults to the rewarding effects of smoking, starting with their first exposure to nicotine. Issued by the UC Irvine Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center, the report includes findings from the research center, which conducted animal, human and policy studies to identify specific factors that promote tobacco use and addiction in adolescents. Findings from Brown University, as well as the universities of Pennsylvania, Southern California, and Wisconsin are also featured in the report.

"The knowledge gained from working together will help us increase our understanding of how young people can become vulnerable to tobacco and the factors that contribute to tobacco dependence," said Frances Leslie, director of the UCI research center and a professor of pharmacology. "We hope that ultimately, our shared research will be applied to tobacco prevention efforts."

The report highlights major research findings, including:
  • Age makes a difference. Adolescents are more receptive to the rewarding effects of nicotine than adults, making cigarette addiction more likely to occur during adolescence.
  • Teens may not feel the negative effects of nicotine as strongly.
  • Another chemical in cigarette smoke works with nicotine to produce more rewarding effects in young people than nicotine alone can do. Together, these chemicals can alter the moods, behaviors and thought processes of teens.
  • Nicotine causes changes in the adolescent brains of rats after just one exposure.
  • Teens with ADHD may turn to smoking as a form of self-medication.
  • Programs designed to prevent teen smoking have the greatest positive economic impact of all smoking-cessation efforts.
  • People with negative moods or naturally aggressive personalities are more likely to become addicted to nicotine. These "born to smoke" patterns appear in teens and adults.
Tobacco use is one of the nation's leading health problems, killing more than 430,000 Americans and costing more than $38 billion in taxpayer dollars each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80 percent of tobacco users started at teens. During these adolescent years, major changes in the brain occur, including those involved with regulating the effects of drugs and other stimuli.

The Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center at UCI is one of seven centers in the United States established to study the factors involved with one of the nation's health crises: teen smoking. Part of its mission is to understand how nicotine, the addictive element of tobacco, impacts this brain maturation and leads to lifelong addiction. The other centers are located at the University of Pennsylvania/Georgetown University, University of Wisconsin, Brown University, University of Minnesota, Yale University and the University of Southern California. The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation contributed nearly $85 million in funding support.
-end-
About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with approximately 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,300 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.

Contact:
Louri Groves
(949) 351-7160
lgroves@uci.edu

UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media. To access, visit: www.today.uci.edu/experts.

NOTE TO EDITORS: "Closing the Gap on Youth Tobacco Use" is available at www.tturc.uci.edu

University of California - Irvine

Related Smoking Articles:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.
What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.
Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.
Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.
Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.
Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.
A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.
A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.
More Smoking News and Smoking Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.