Can Skin Tone Determine Nicotine Dependence?

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Many are aware that it’s a statistical fact that blacks have a harder time quitting smoking and, perhaps as a result of this, our lung cancer risks are far greater than that of whites. However, a new study shows that skin TONE might have a play in the issue as well.

[From Science Daily]

Higher concentrations of melanin — the color pigment in skin and hair — may be placing darker pigmented smokers at increased susceptibility to nicotine dependence and tobacco-related carcinogens than lighter skinned smokers, according to scientists.

“We have found that the concentration of melanin is directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked daily, levels of nicotine dependence, and nicotine exposure among African Americans,” said Gary King, professor of biobehavioral health, Penn State.

King states that previous research shows that nicotine has a biochemical affinity for melanin. Conceivably, this association could result in an accumulation of the addictive agent in melanin-containing tissues of smokers with greater amounts of skin pigmentation.

“The point of the study is that, if in fact, nicotine does bind to melanin, populations with high levels of melanin could indicate certain types of smoking behavior, dependence, and health outcomes that will be different from those in less pigmented populations,” explained King. “And the addiction process may very well be longer and more severe.”

To read the full article and find out how this info was gathered, click here.


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