Courtesy AMagillDespite decades of warnings people still continue smoking cigarettes. Yes, they're all aware of the long-term effects of smoking such as heart disease and cancer, but now a new study out of the University of Minnesota shows that within just a few minutes of inhaling a cigarette's toxic smoke, cancer causing chemicals begin to form.
Researchers at the U of M studied a group of patients, and monitored the level of chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that were derived from their inhaling cigarette smoke.The results showed that the subjects' bodies changed the PAHs into DNA-damaging chemicals almost immediately:
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. 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.
Martin Dockrell, director of policy and research at ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), an anti-smoking organization, said, "The chilling thing about this research is that it shows just how early the very first stages of that process begin - not in 30 years but within 30 minutes of a single cigarette for every subject in the study."
Dockrell added that it's never too late to quit and begin reducing smoking's harmful effects.
The study was funded by the American Cancer Society and appears in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.
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American Cancer Society
ASH (Action on Smoking and Health)