Even 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]