Smoking leads to disease-causing DNA damage lasting 30years

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A new study has found that cigarette smoking damages users’ DNA, with its effects seen more than 30 years after they quit.

Here’s one more reason to kick your smoking habit: A new study has found that cigarette smoking leads to disease-causing DNA damage that can last more than 30 years after a person quits.

The study involved blood samples from more than 16,000 people, including current and former smokers and people who had never smoked. The researchers uncovered evidence of a “long-term signature” in tobacco users’ DNA that likely contributes to diseases associated with smoking such as lung cancer and heart disease, according to the report, which was published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.

“Our study has found compelling evidence that smoking has a long-lasting impact on our molecular machinery,” said study author Roby Joehanese, an instructor and research scientist at Harvard Medical School and the Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research, in a statement.

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Cigarettes’ harmful effects include an increased risk for diseases like cancers, osteoporosis, as well as lung and cardiovascular disorders.

The study’s key focus was cigarettes’ effect on DNA methylation, which regulates gene expression. According to the researchers, methylation happened in genes linked to smoking-related diseases, such as cancers, osteoporosis, and lung and cardiovascular disorders.

In all, about one-third of known genes in smokers were found affected. While most of these genes went back to normal levels five years after a person quit, changes in 19 genes ― including the TIAM2 gene, which is linked to lymphoma ― lasted 30 years, NBC reported.

“The encouraging news is that once you stop smoking, the majority of DNA methylation signals return to never smoker levels after five years, which means your body is trying to heal itself of the harmful impacts of tobacco smoking,” Joehanese said.

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, more than 480,000 people die from its health effects. That figure equates to nearly one in five deaths overall.

By Nina Golgowski


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connie dello buono

Health educator, author and enterpreneur motherhealth@gmail.com or conniedbuono@gmail.com ; cell 408-854-1883 Helping families in the bay area by providing compassionate and live-in caregivers for homebound bay area seniors. Blogs at www.clubalthea.com Currently writing a self help and self cure ebook to help transform others in their journey to wellness, Healing within, transform inside and out. This is a compilation of topics Connie answered at quora.com and posts in this site.

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