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Tobacco smoke forms cancer causing trash DNA within minutes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Smoking comes with a new warning that it can harm genes within minutes, not years.

Findings from researchers are the first to show smoking tobacco harms DNA from chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. In a first human study, researchers tracked the fate of one of the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke most likely to cause cancer, after volunteers finished smoking a cigarette, discovering trash DNA is forms within minutes.

When scientists added a labeled PAH called ,phenanthrene to cigarettes, and study subjects smoked the tobacco, the researchers observed the behavior of the toxic chemical in 12 volunteers. The discovered that phenanthrene turned into cancer causing trash DNA within 15 to 30 minutes after the study participants finished smoking.

The study, published in Chemical Research in Toxicology and conducted by Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D., and colleagues, details how PAH, one of the carcinogens in tobacco, takes minutes, not years to cause changes in DNA that can lead to lung, throat, esophageal, mouth, and other types of cancer.

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The authors concluded, "Because PAH diol epoxides are mutagenic and carcinogenic, the results clearly demonstrate immediate negative health consequences of smoking, which should serve as a major warning to anyone contemplating initiating tobacco use."

Hecht points out the study is unique because it shows that tobacco smoke harms genes, regardless of other factors like diet and exposure to air pollution. He says, “It is the first to investigate human metabolism of a PAH specifically delivered by inhalation in cigarette smoke, without interference by other sources of exposure…”

The report is the first human study showing how quickly cigarette smoking damages genes, causing trash DNA that can cause cancer. The researchers found damage from tobacco smoke happens so fast, it’s like injecting it into the bloodstream.

American Chemical Society
Chemical Research in Toxicology: DOI: 10.1021/tx100345x



For the related PAH, benzo[a]pyrene, which is one of the most common polycyclic hydrocarbons produced by combustion, "[T]he food chain is the dominant pathway of human exposure, accounting for about 97% of the total daily intake of BaP. Inhalation and consumption of contaminated water are only minor pathways of human exposure [2% from air, and 1% from water]. The long-term average daily intake of BaP by the general population is estimated to be 2.2 micrograms (ug) per day. Cigarette smoking and indoor activities do not substantially increase human exposure to BaP relative to background levels of BaP present in the environment." And, "[A]verage smokers (i.e., individuals who smoke 20 cigarettes a day) are taking in an additional 780 ng of BaP daily, which means that smokers get an additional 16% BaP from smoking" [based on pre-1979 cigarettes, which contained about twice the quantity of BaP as newer low-tar cigarettes]. Also, the exposure from cooked beef (0.2 -24.1 ug/kg) is less than the exposure from leafy vegetables (7.0 - 48 ug/kg). And, this research was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (Benzo-a-pyrene: Environmental partitioning and human exposure. H.A. Hattemer-Frey, C.C. Travis. Toxicology and Industrial Health 1991;7(3):141-157.) http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2060536048-6064.html The anti-smokers are guilty of flagrant scientific fraud for ignoring more than 50 studies, which show that human papillomaviruses cause at least a quarter of non-small cell lung cancers. Smokers and passive smokers are more likely to have been exposed to this virus, for socioeconomic reasons. And the anti-smokers' studies are all based on nothing but lifestyle questionnaires, so they're cynically DESIGNED to blame tobacco for all those extra lung cancers that are really caused by HPV. And those criminals commit the same type of fraud with every disease they blame on tobacco. http://www.smokershistory.com/SGlies.html