B4052 - Gaining Insights Into The Causal Effects Of Electronic Cigarette Use - 03/05/2022

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Jasmine Khouja | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Dr Rebecca Richmond, Prof Marcus Munafo, Dr Elizabeth Prom-Wormley, Dr Megan Cooke, Dr Roseann Peterson, Dr Elizabeth Do, Prof Hermine Maes
Title of project: 
Gaining Insights Into The Causal Effects Of Electronic Cigarette Use
Proposal summary: 

E-cigarettes can help people stop smoking, but the long-term effects of e-cigarette / vaping initiation remain unknown. In this project, we will use our newly established Genetics, E-cigarette and Nicotine Consortium (GENiC) to identify genetic variants associated with vaping. This will provide information about the biological determinants of individual differences in vaping and support causal inference analyses into the downstream behavioural and health consequences of vaping.

At present, it is difficult to determine which genetic variants are specifically associated with vaping rather than smoking combustible cigarettes because most e-cigarette users have also smoked. However, data on non-smoking e-cigarette users are now emerging in large, genetically-informed cohort studies like ALSPAC, which enables – for the first time – the identification of genetic variants associated with vaping initiation (i.e., using e-cigarettes regularly or more than 100 times) in smoking-naïve young people.

We plan to use the available genetic data in ALSPAC and data relating to smoking and e-cigarette initiation to investigate whether a person’s genetic information can be used to predict e-cigarette initiation.

Impact of research: 
Identifying genetic variants associated with e-cigarette initiation will help us understand the genetic architecture of e-cigarette initiation and will provide opportunities for conducting causal analyses in a Mendelian randomisation (MR) framework. These causal analyses will help us to gain insight into the causal effects of e-cigarette use.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 21 April, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 3 May, 2022
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc., GWAS, Genome wide association study