Smoking causes DNA damage in minutes

Date: January / 20 / 2011 + Comments: 0

No Smoking sign Cigarette smoke causes genetic damage within minutes, not years, after inhalation into the lungs, U.S. researchers say.

Stephen S. Hecht of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota and colleagues say evidence indicates harmful substances in tobacco smoke (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) play a role in causing lung cancer but the study is the first to detail how PAHs in cigarette smoke cause DNA damage.

The scientists added a labeled PAH to cigarettes and tracked it in 12 volunteers who smoked the cigarettes. They found phenanthrene quickly forms a toxic substance in the blood known to trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer.

The study, published in Chemical Research in Toxicology, found human smokers developed maximum levels of the substance in a time frame that surprised researchers: 15-30 minutes after volunteers smoked.

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Via UPI Health

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Post author: Daniel Semper

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