Dr Rob Young, director of New Zealand-based Respiragene, developers of a genetic test designed for smokers, says that fear is a powerful motivator for smokers to quit the habit. The Respiragene test gives smokers a susceptibility score for lung cancer ranging from “moderate risk” to “very high risk”. Receiving a personalised assessment can help smokers to overcome complacency about their risk, according to Dr Young, who says the “it won’t happen to me” mentality is frequently a hurdle to quitting. Smokers can dramatically underestimate the risk of their own likelihood of contracting lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases, he said. Since the test was launched, Dr Young said that about 100 tests had been sold in New Zealand. Eventually, he said he hopes to market Respiragene to public health programmes.