Integrating genetic studies of nicotine addiction into public health practice: Stakeholder views on challenges, barriers and opportunities

Molly J Dingel, A. D. Hicks, M. E. Robinson, B. A. Koenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Will emerging genetic research strengthen tobacco control programs? In this empirical study, we interview stakeholders in tobacco control to illuminate debates about the role of genomics in public health. Methods: The authors performed open-ended interviews with 86 stakeholders from 5 areas of tobacco control: basic scientists, clinicians, tobacco prevention specialists, health payers, and pharmaceutical industry employees. Interviews were qualitatively analyzed using standard techniques. Results: The central tension is between the hope that an expanding genomic knowledge base will improve prevention and smoking cessation therapies and the fear that genetic research might siphon resources away from traditional and proven public health programs. While showing strong support for traditional public health approaches to tobacco control, stakeholders recognize weaknesses, specifically the difficulty of countering the powerful voice of the tobacco industry when mounting public campaigns and the problem of individuals who are resistant to treatment and continue smoking. Conclusions: In order for genetic research to be effectively translated into efforts to minimize the harm of smoking-related disease, the views of key stakeholders must be voiced and disagreements reconciled. Effective translation requires honest evaluation of both the strengths and limitations of genetic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Genomics
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Genetics
  • Individualized medicine
  • Nicotine addiction
  • Public health
  • Tobacco control

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