Smoking causes permanent DNA damage

Smoking causes permanent DNA damage

If there weren’t enough reasons to quit smoking, here is one more. Smoking causes permanent DNA damage, according to the latest research from the American Heart Association.

The damage done to DNA can last more than 30 years after a person quits.

The study included blood samples from over 16,000 people, including smokers, former smokers, and non-smokers. The researchers found what they called a “long-term signature” in smokers DNA that could increase the risk of smoking-related diseases like lung cancer and heart disease.

The American Heart Association report showed the following findings:

Smoking-associated DNA methylation sites were associated with more than 7,000 genes, or one-third of known human genes.

For people who stopped smoking, the majority of DNA methylation sites returned to levels seen in never smokers within five years of quitting smoking.

However, some DNA methylation sites persisted even after 30 years of quitting.

The most statistically significant methylation sites were linked to genes enriched for association with numerous diseases caused by cigarette smoking, such as cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers.

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. “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.”

So the good news is, stop smoking, and after 5 years your body can heal itself.

A recent American Cancer Society study shows that even with significant dropping smoking rates, cigarettes still account for about 3 out of 10 deaths in the United States. Please be part of the solution and quit smoking today.

The study showing that smoking causes permanent DNA damage was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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San Francisco has raised its smoking age to 21.

1. “Smoking Still Causes Large Proportion of Cancer Deaths in the United States.” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, 9 Dec. 2014. Web. 24 Sep. 2016.
2. “Smoking Leaves Historical “footprint” in DNA.” American Heart Association. American Heart Association, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.
3. “Epigenetic Signatures of Cigarette Smoking.” Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. American Heart Association, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.

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