Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early Nicotine Use May Lead To Lasting Addiction, Study Finds

Date:
September 10, 2003
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
People who begin smoking in their teens may be particularly vulnerable to long-term nicotine addiction, according to an animal study conducted by Duke University Medical Center pharmacologists. The study emphasizes that the age at which individuals begin using nicotine can have a major physiological impact to encourage later use of the drug.

Durham, N.C. -- People who begin smoking in their teens may be particularly vulnerable to long-term nicotine addiction, according to an animal study conducted by Duke University Medical Center pharmacologists. The study emphasizes that the age at which individuals begin using nicotine can have a major physiological impact to encourage later use of the drug.

Related Articles


In their study, the researchers compared the amount of nicotine self-administered by adolescent rats to the amount used by animals first exposed during adulthood. Young rats showed nearly double the rate of nicotine use compared with those initially exposed as adults, the study found.

The adolescents' heavier nicotine use persisted into adulthood, the team reports in the September 2003 issue of the journal Psychopharmacology.

"The results indicate that early nicotine exposure can leave a lasting imprint on the brain," said Edward Levin, Ph.D., professor in the psychiatry and behavioral sciences department at Duke University Medical Center and a researcher at Duke's Nicotine Research Center. The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Most tobacco use begins during adolescence, Levin pointed out. Among smokers in the United States, 88 percent smoked their first cigarette before the age of 18 and 60 percent before age 14. Adolescence is also a crucial period for the brain, he said, in which the final phase of neuron development occurs.

"The great majority of tobacco addiction begins during adolescence, yet little is known about differential effects of nicotine in adolescents versus adults," Levin said.

Other studies have suggested that smokers who take up the habit at a young age are more likely to continue to smoke, Levin said. However, researchers find it difficult to assess the underlying cause of an association between age and addiction in humans, he added, because the same factors that make people prone to nicotine addiction may also encourage them to begin using the drug at a young age.

To clarify the basis of early nicotine addiction, Levin and colleagues tested for a link between the age of initial nicotine use and addiction in female rats in the laboratory. The researchers provided some rats with nicotine at 40 to 46 days of age, while others were provided nicotine only after 70 to 76 days, once they had reached adulthood. Rats could self-administer a dose of nicotine by pressing a lever.

The adolescent rats self-administered significantly more nicotine than did adults, the researchers found. In a test for chronic nicotine use in the rats during a period of four weeks, animals that began using nicotine during adolescence continued to use more of the drug even after they became adults.

The results suggest that people who begin using nicotine during adolescence may be at greater risk for long-lasting addiction, the team reports.

"The brain continues to develop throughout the teenage years," Levin said. "Early nicotine use may cause the wiring of the brain to proceed inappropriately. In essence, the brains of adolescents who use tobacco may be sculpted around an addiction to nicotine."

Other Duke participants in the study included Amir Rezvani, Ph.D., Daniel Montoya, Jed Rose, Ph.D., and H. Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., also of the Durham Veterans Administration Hospital.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Early Nicotine Use May Lead To Lasting Addiction, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030910073801.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2003, September 10). Early Nicotine Use May Lead To Lasting Addiction, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030910073801.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Early Nicotine Use May Lead To Lasting Addiction, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030910073801.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins