Monday May 21, 2018

Smoking a Pack of Cigarettes each Day Causes 150 Mutations in Every Lung Cell, say Scientists

Smoking kills six million people a year worldwide and, if current trends continue, the World Health Organization predicts more than 1 billion tobacco-related deaths this century

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FILE - New findings show that smoking causes devastating genetic damage, or mutations, in the cells of various organs in the body. VOA
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Scientists have found that smoking a pack a day of cigarettes can cause 150 damaging changes to a smoker’s lung cells each year.

The findings come from a study of the devastating genetic damage, or mutations, caused by smoking in various organs in the body.

Published Thursday in the journal Science, the researchers said the findings show a direct link between the number of cigarettes smoked in a lifetime and the number of mutations in the DNA of cancerous tumours.

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The highest mutation rates were seen in lung cancers, but tumors in other parts of the body — including the bladder, liver and throat — also had smoking-associated mutations, they said. This explains why smoking also causes many other types of cancer beside lung cancer.

Smoking kills six million people a year worldwide and, if current trends continue, the World Health Organization predicts more than 1 billion tobacco-related deaths this century.

Cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA of a cell. Smoking has been linked with at least 17 types of cancer, but until now scientists were not clear on the mechanisms behind many of them.

Ludmil Alexandrov of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States, one of those who carried out the research, explained that in particular, it had until now been difficult to explain how smoking increases the risk of cancer in parts of the body that don’t come into direct contact with smoke.

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“Before now, we had a large body of epidemiological evidence linking smoking with cancer, but now we can actually observe and quantify the molecular changes in the DNA,” he said.

This study analyzed over 5,000 tumors, comparing cancers from smokers with those from people who had never smoked.

It found certain molecular fingerprints of DNA damage — called mutational signatures — in the smokers’ DNA, and the scientists counted how many of these were in different tumors.

In lung cells, they found that on average, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day led to 150 mutations in each cell every year.

Each mutation is a potential start point for a “cascade of genetic damage” that can eventually lead to cancer, they said.

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The results also showed that smoking a pack of cigarettes a day led to an average 97 mutations in each cell in the larynx, 39 mutations for the pharynx, 23 for the mouth, 18 for the bladder, and six mutations in every cell of the liver each year.

Mike Stratton, who co-led the work at Britain’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said it was a bit like digging into the archaeology of each tumor.

“The genome of every cancer provides a kind of archaeological record, written in the DNA code itself, of the exposures that caused the mutations,” he said. “Looking in the DNA of cancers can provide provocative new clues to how [they] develop and thus, potentially, how they can be prevented.” (VOA)

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  • Ruchika Kumari

    Smoking is injuries for health….everyone knows….still smokers are not quitting it

  • Shivani Vohra

    Smoking is really injurious to health.

Next Story

Smoking marijuana may lead non-smokers to cigarettes

As cannabis use is much more common than cannabis use disorder, its potential impact on cigarette use in the general community may be greater than estimates based on studies of cannabis use disorder alone, the researchers said

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lung cancer
Cigarette smoking is injurious to health. Pixabay

If you only smoke marijuana there are higher chances that you may end up smoking cigarettes too, a new study suggests. According to the researchers, cannabis use is associated with an increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-cigarette smokers.

While cigarette smoking has long been on the decline, marijuana use is on the rise and, disproportionately, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes, the researcher said.

Marijuana use can increase cigarette use too. VOA

“Understanding the potential links between cannabis use and cigarette initiation in youth is needed given that recent data suggest that cannabis use is more common among adolescents than cigarette use,” said co-author Renee Goodwin from the Mailman School of Public Health.

The analyses for the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, were based on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005, and responses from 34,639 individuals.

Also Read: Stop smoking and eat healthy to avoid obesity

The results suggested that marijuana use — even in the absence of cannabis use disorder — is associated with increased odds of smoking onset, relapse, and persistence.

They also found adults who smoke cigarettes and use cannabis are less likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who do not use cannabis. Former smokers who use cannabis are also more likely to relapse to cigarette smoking, the researcher said.

Cigarette smoking can be increased in youngsters due to use of marijuana. Pixabay

“Developing a better understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and cigarette use transitions is critical and timely as cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease, and use of cannabis is on the rise in the US,” Goodwin said.

As cannabis use is much more common than cannabis use disorder, its potential impact on cigarette use in the general community may be greater than estimates based on studies of cannabis use disorder alone, the researchers said. IANS