Smoking remains associated with education after controlling for social background and genetic factors in a study of 18 twin cohorts

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


  • Fulltext

    Final published version, 915 KB, PDF document

  • Karri Silventoinen
  • Maarit Piirtola
  • Aline Jelenkovic
  • Reijo Sund
  • Adam D. Tarnoki
  • David L. Tarnoki
  • Emanuela Medda
  • Lorenza Nisticò
  • Virgilia Toccaceli
  • Chika Honda
  • Fujio Inui
  • Rie Tomizawa
  • Mikio Watanabe
  • Norio Sakai
  • Margaret Gatz
  • David A. Butler
  • Jooyeon Lee
  • Soo Ji Lee
  • Joohon Sung
  • Carol E. Franz
  • William S. Kremen
  • Michael J. Lyons
  • Catherine A. Derom
  • Robert F. Vlietinck
  • Per Tynelius
  • Finn Rasmussen
  • Nicholas G. Martin
  • Sarah E. Medland
  • Grant W. Montgomery
  • Ingunn Brandt
  • Thomas S. Nilsen
  • Jennifer R. Harris
  • Jessica Tyler
  • John L. Hopper
  • Patrik K.E. Magnusson
  • Nancy L. Pedersen
  • Anna K. Dahl Aslan
  • Juan R. Ordoñana
  • Juan F. Sánchez-Romera
  • Lucia Colodro-Conde
  • Esther Rebato
  • Dongfeng Zhang
  • Zengchang Pang
  • Qihua Tan
  • Judy L. Silberg
  • Hermine H. Maes
  • Dorret I. Boomsma
  • Tellervo Korhonen
  • Jaakko Kaprio

We tested the causality between education and smoking using the natural experiment of discordant twin pairs allowing to optimally control for background genetic and childhood social factors. Data from 18 cohorts including 10,527 monozygotic (MZ) and same-sex dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs discordant for education and smoking were analyzed by linear fixed effects regression models. Within twin pairs, education levels were lower among the currently smoking than among the never smoking co-twins and this education difference was larger within DZ than MZ pairs. Similarly, education levels were higher among former smoking than among currently smoking co-twins, and this difference was larger within DZ pairs. Our results support the hypothesis of a causal effect of education on both current smoking status and smoking cessation. However, the even greater intra-pair differences within DZ pairs, who share only 50% of their segregating genes, provide evidence that shared genetic factors also contribute to these associations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13148
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

ID: 315979189