Smoking Damages Your Genes Within Minutes Of Lighting Up

smokingEven the tobacco companies have had to concede that in the long-term smoking is disastrous for human bodies. Probably few people would have guessed just how fast the damage occurs, however. AFP reports on a new study that should give cause to even those who think just an occasional puff will do no harm:

Those first few puffs on a cigarette can within minutes cause genetic damage linked to cancer, US scientists said in a study released Saturday.

In fact, researchers said the “effect is so fast that it’s equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream,” in findings described as a “stark warning” to those who smoke.

The study is the first on humans to track how substances in tobacco cause DNA damage, and appears in the peer-reviewed journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, issued by the American Chemical Society.

Using 12 volunteer smokers, scientists tracked pollutants called PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, that are carried in tobacco smoke and can also be found in coal-burning plants and in charred barbecue food.

They followed one particular type — phenanthrene, which is found in cigarette smoke — through the blood and saw it form a toxic substance that is known to “trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer,” the study said.

“The smokers developed maximum levels of the substance in a time frame that surprised even the researchers: just 15-30 minutes after the volunteers finished smoking,” the study said…

[continues at AFP]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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12 Comments on "Smoking Damages Your Genes Within Minutes Of Lighting Up"

  1. Huh. Makes it all the more bizarre that my grandma smoked a pack once a day for 50 years and had no lasting effects.

  2. Huh. Makes it all the more bizarre that my grandma smoked a pack once a day for 50 years and had no lasting effects.

  3. Anonymous | Jan 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    why is all this ‘scientific research’ always only about a new type/form of getting cancer?

  4. why is all this ‘scientific research’ always only about a new type/form of getting cancer?

  5. Another reason second hand smokers should buy their own and quit leeching off of me. Modify your DNA on your own dime you bums.

  6. Marklar_Prime | Jan 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    Another reason second hand smokers should buy their own and quit leeching off of me. Modify your DNA on your own dime you bums.

  7. mrtastycakes | Jan 17, 2011 at 12:01 am |

    Effective one word rebuttal to any poorly constructed anti-substance study:

    Hormesis.

  8. mrtastycakes | Jan 16, 2011 at 8:01 pm |

    Effective one word rebuttal to any poorly constructed anti-substance study:

    Hormesis.

  9. Just a puff? Will f*ck you up…

  10. Just a puff? Will f*ck you up.

    I’m gonna go eat some grapes…

  11. Katesisco | Jan 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    Well, am often surprised at how the gene pool seems to be half enabled and half not. Whether we are adjusting to damage or being eliminated, the reading is the same: about half of us can slough off mercury contamination and half cannot. Seems to the the same math for smokers. And the findings that AIDS doesn’t infect everyone is the same: some immune systems are not knocked down, others are.
    What do you think the implications of this are?

  12. Katesisco | Jan 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm |

    Well, am often surprised at how the gene pool seems to be half enabled and half not. Whether we are adjusting to damage or being eliminated, the reading is the same: about half of us can slough off mercury contamination and half cannot. Seems to the the same math for smokers. And the findings that AIDS doesn’t infect everyone is the same: some immune systems are not knocked down, others are.
    What do you think the implications of this are?

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