Smoking just one pack of cigarettes a day for a year causes 150 individual genetic mutations in cells which could each lead to its own cancer.
For the first time, scientists have revealed the horrific effects that smoking can have on our DNA.
As well as 150 mutations in the lungs, the scientists found that the pack-a-day habit produced an average of 97 mutations in the larynx (voice box), 39 in the pharynx (top part of the throat), 23 in the mouth, 18 in the bladder and six in the liver.
Smoking is a leading cause of cancer, with over six million people worldwide dying from a cigarette-related disease each year.
Cancer is triggered by mutations in cells which become ‘immortal’ and multiply uncontrollably, the Independent reports.
Ludmil Alexandrov of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the study’s main co-authors, said:
This study offers fresh insights into how tobacco smoke causes cancer.
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 due to cigarette smoking.Advertisement
With this study, we have found that people who smoke a pack a day develop an average of 150 extra mutations in their lungs every year, which explains why smokers have such a higher risk of developing lung cancer.
On average smokers lose around a decade of life compared with non-smokers, and up to two thirds of long-term smokers will be killed by their addiction.
So with all the facts in front of you, why continue doing it to yourself?