Study: Smoking Cigarettes Causes Genetic Damage in a Matter of Minutes
January 17, 2011 9:48 AM
comment(s) - last by
Smokers reach maximum levels of a cigarette pollutant in just 15-30 minutes
A researcher from the
University of Minnesota
has found that smoking can cause damage to genes in a matter of minutes, which could then lead to cancer.
Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Wallin Chair in Cancer Prevention, along with a team of researchers, have discovered that the first inhalation from a cigarette is enough to
cause genetic damage in minutes
Many believed it took years for cigarettes to cause any harmful effects to the body, but this study is the first to actually observe how tobacco substances relate to DNA damage when smoking. It is also different from any other smoking-related study because it strictly tracks the effects of smoking without "interference" from other harmful causes such as poor diet and pollution.
To study how a cigarette's contents impact human DNA, Hecht and his team used 12 volunteers to track PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are
pollutants found in tobacco smoke
. PAHs can also be located in charred barbecue food and coal-burning plants. One specific type that Hecht was particularly interested in tracking was phenanthrene, which is in cigarette smoke.
The team observed the phenanthrene as it traveled through the blood, and watched as it destroyed DNA and caused mutations that lead to cancer.
developed maximum levels of the substance in a time frame that surprised even the researchers," said the study. "Just 15-30 minutes after the volunteers finished smoking. 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 results are also significant because lung cancer claims the lives of 3,000 people worldwide each day, and 90 percent of these deaths are linked to smoking. With high death rates like these, it's worth researching what the effects really are.
"The results reported here should serve as a stark warning to those who are considering starting to smoke cigarettes," said Hecht.
was published in
Chemical Research in Toxicology
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
1/17/2011 12:05:07 PM
Not sure if it was changed, but it says 3000 each day, not each year.
1/17/2011 7:42:10 PM
If charred BBQ causes even remotely similar levels of DNA damage like they suggest, human's would be mutated beyond recognition by now.
We've been char-grilling and char-broiling our food since we discovered fire.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
Pollutant "Thirdhand Smoke" Lingers in Homes Long After Smokers Move Out
December 17, 2010, 6:12 PM
Study: E-Cigarettes Fail at Nicotine Delivery, No Better Than Unlit Cigarette
February 10, 2010, 11:42 AM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Windows 10 Hits 75 Million Users; Grows Nearly 4x as Fast as Windows 7
August 28, 2015, 10:22 PM
Kentucky Man Faces up to 10 Years in Prison for Shooting Drone Trespasser
August 13, 2015, 2:58 PM
Microsoft's Flagship Windows10 Lumias Rumored to Pack 25 Minute Charge Times
August 31, 2015, 8:13 PM
"KeyRaider" Hits 225,000+ iPhones, Mobile Malware no Longer Just a Droid Thing
September 1, 2015, 11:50 PM
Microsoft Announces $499 Xbox One "ELITE", w/ High-End Controller, Hybrid HDD
August 31, 2015, 3:29 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information