Nicotine addiction – a health problem in adolescents in a neurobiological context

Original Article, Pol J Public Health, Vol. 132 (2022): 21-24

Elżbieta Grzywacz1, Maria Grzymkowska2, Jolanta Chmielowiec3, Anna Grzywacz4,
Aleksandra Strońska-Pluta4, Jolanta Masiak5, Krzysztof Chmielowiec3

1 Student Scientific Club of Department of Oral Surgery, Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, Poland
2 Student Scientific Club of Independent Laboratory of Health Promotion, Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, Poland
3 Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Collegium Medicum, University of Zielona Góra, Poland
4 Independent Laboratory of Health Promotion, Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, Poland
5 II Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Medical University of Lublin, Poland

DOI_disc_logo 10.2478/pjph-2022-0004

© 2022  Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (


Smoking is one of the leading causes of death which can be prevented in the developed countries. Smoking begins mainly in adolescence. Smoking in early adolescence is known to be associated with an increased risk of later addiction. Also the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, which attract young people with a variety of flavors, and are still little associated with harmful effects on health, unlike regular cigarettes. Exposure to nicotine in young people can affect learning, memory and attention, and lead to increased impulsivity, mood disorders and drug dependence. Nicotine and its derivatives are harmful to the human body, causing a significant increase in blood pressure, deterioration of blood supply to the vessels and acceleration of atherosclerotic processes, it has a detrimental effect on the gastric mucosa, causing gastric disorders. In addition, smoking is associated with the risk of many cancers: oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, lung, pancreas, kidney, liver and bladder. Nicotine addiction causes many health, social and financial consequences for the individual and the community as a whole. Multiple nicotine addiction risk SNPs were found in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster, with the best reported results for the risk allele derived from the non-synonymous SNP, rs16969968, in CHRNA5. Therefore, in the problem of addiction, including nicotine addiction, it seems important to know the neurobiological factors, including genetic ones, involved in these processes. This could lead to the development of new pharmacological and behavioral treatment strategies in the future.

Keywords: nicotine addiction, health problem, CHRNA5 gene, adolescents.

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