(Health Secrets) There is no longer any way to deny the damage from smoking. The havoc that cigarette smoke wreaks on DNA has been outlined in a study mapping the genetic mutations within cancerous tumors. This study concluded that a genetic mutation can occur with every fifteen cigarettes, meaning that for the 20% of adults in the U.S. who are moderate to heavy smokers, a genetic mutation will occur within their DNA at least once a day.
What does the study show?
Breakthrough research by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has cataloged the genetic mutations found in the tumors of various cancer victims. As well as the actual changes to DNA, the study has been able to identify and record the cause of each mutation.
One particular tumor, taken from a 55 year old man with lung cancer, showed almost 23,000 mutations, the majority of which were caused by the chemicals in cigarette smoke. Many of these mutations, known as passengers, are relatively harmless, but others would have driven the production of cancerous cells that led to his lung cancer.
The research was led by Peter Campbell, who stated, “It’s a little like Russian roulette. Every time you smoke a cigarette you are firing mutagens into the lung. Most do nothing, but every so often they cause a mutation that can contribute to cancer.”
Although the cause of each mutation can be determined, it is not yet possible to determine which of the mutations lead to cancer and which ones are harmless. The researchers hope this will be the next phase of their investigations, allowing for the development of gentler therapies to target genetic mutations, instead of the current barbaric treatments of chemotherapy and radiotherapy which kill all rapidly reproducing cells, leading to appalling side effects.
Ten great reasons to quit smoking today
If the above research has made you think about giving up smoking for good, here are ten more reasons to quit today:
- To reduce your risk from a smoking related disease, disability or death, such as lung disease, heart disease, or cancer.
- To reduce your risk of developing smoking related circulatory problems leading to gangrene or possibly an amputation.
- To protect your loved ones from breathing second hand smoke and to reduce your child’s risk of developing asthma or glue ear.
- To increase your fertility levels and improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
- To improve your general fitness and your ability to breathe easily.
- To revitalize your taste buds so that you can once again properly taste the food and drink you prepare.
- To save money; those packs might not seem so expensive on their own, but the dollars soon add up. Think about what you could do with the extra cash.
- To improve your appearance with healthier, clearer skin and teeth, and to get rid of the smell of stale smoke that you carry with you.
- To reduce the risk of starting a fire in your home from cigarette stubs that are not properly extinguished, or misuse of cigarette lighters.
- To become more socially accepted in a world which no longer tolerates smokers and second hand smoke.
If you are one of the fifteen million smokers worldwide who try to quit each day but rarely succeed, these tips may help you to achieve your goals:
- Think ahead about how you will deal with situations where you usually smoke, such as your coffee break or after a meal.
- Avoid places for a few weeks where you may be tempted to smoke, and keep yourself busy in other ways, such as starting a new form of exercise.
- Get rid of the cigarettes in your home and check places like your car and your desk drawer where half a pack might be lurking.
- Join a support group or find a friend to quit with; talking to someone in the same situation will give you the strength to carry on.
- Consider nicotine patches or gum to help you cope with the initial cravings.
- Read the above list of reasons to quit at least once a day.