Smoking Damages DNA Within Minutes

Blog Post created by Thomas3.20.2010 on Aug 2, 2015

All it takes is a few minutes – not years – of puffing on a cigarette to cause genetic damage linked to cancer, 

A lead researcher, Dr. Stephen Hecht from the University of Minnesota, and his colleagues followed 12 volunteers and tracked certain pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are a group of chemicals that are formed during the burning of coal, oil, gas, wood or other substances such as tobacco and charred meats.

Hecht zeroed-in on one pollutant in particular called phenanthrene, and found that it quickly formed a toxic substance in the blood that is known to “trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer."

"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. "These results are significant because PAH diol epoxides react readily with DNA, induce mutations, and are considered to be ultimate carcinogens of multiple PAH in cigarette smoke."

The study was founded by the National cancer Institute.

YES, cheating matters! They don't call them Cancer Sticks for nothing!