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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. 

"The smokers 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. 

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RE: The sad truth of smokers
By omnicronx on 1/17/2011 12:29:05 PM , Rating: 4
Get off your high horse.

Rarely are you forced to be in a position where ANYONE is forcing you to smoke, or expose you to true second hand smoke.

Sitting outside while someone is smoking a cigarete near you does not fall into that category.

The very city air you are constantly breathing is probably filled with far more carcinogens and chemicals than the little bit of second hand smoke you subjected too.

<sarcasm>So please stop driving. As a cyclist I find people like yourself very selfish for subjecting me to all these chemicals that your car spews out daily and I just won't stand for it </sarcasm>

RE: The sad truth of smokers
By MartyLK on 1/17/11, Rating: 0
RE: The sad truth of smokers
By SPOOFE on 1/17/2011 3:18:32 PM , Rating: 2
You're not talking about the problem of second-hand smoke, you're talking about the problem of self-centered jerks. And there's about an equal percentage of self-centered jerks in both the smoking and the non-smoking population. You are an excellent example of the latter.

The truth is that most cigarette smokers are courteous people that recognize their habit is uncomfortable to many others and they take steps to mitigate that.

RE: The sad truth of smokers
By MartyLK on 1/17/2011 3:41:20 PM , Rating: 1
While that may be true of some people, the majority, in my experience, not just at my workplace, but wherever I go, are too self absorbed to care about how their dangerous habit affects others. Reasoning like yours is just a symptom to continue the anti-social behavior. The smokers at my work were, for the most part, decent people who ordinarily would help you in any other way. Cigarette smoking binds them up in their mind so much so that it causes them to ignore all rationality about their selfish habit.

There isn't much you would be able to say to me that I haven't already heard in defense of smoking habits. But you are welcome to voice your nicotine-controlled views.

RE: The sad truth of smokers
By Lerianis on 1/18/2011 7:23:28 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry, MartyLK, but I have to agree with the previous poster here. You are self-centered jerk who thinks that someone smoking halfway across the room 'affects' them in some manner.

IT DOES NOT! You are more likely to get an 'effect' from sitting beside a dirty, dusty fan blowing dust particles and all other shit at you than from second-hand smoke.

All of these 'studies' have a logic fail and science fail in them. They start out with the assumption that second-hand smoke has an effect. Therefore, they don't look for ANYTHING that would say that it DOESN'T HAVE AN EFFECT !

Simply put.... these studies are toilet paper fodder.

RE: The sad truth of smokers
By RamarC on 1/17/2011 9:03:15 PM , Rating: 2
cigar smokers are the some of the nicest folks you'll ever meet. seriously! and they're very courteous and respectful of other folks in the vicinity.

but anti-smokers near a cigar... immediately with the whining/complaining/bitching/snide comments!

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