It's pretty clear that smoking is very unhealthy. Every day we hear and read about the negative impacts that smoking has on, for example, our lungs. We also all know that smoking reduces the number of (healthy) life years. We see these message very often and are strengthened by the sinister picture on the packaging of cigarette. But what does smoking do to our DNA exactly?
Disruption of substances
DNA can get damaged because of multiple causes. There are different mutagenic substances that can disrupt the DNA and cause damage. Something is called mutagenic when it causes a mutation. A mutation is a change in the order of the nucleotides in the DNA. Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA. Smoking is carcinogenic and the chemicals in the cigaret/smoke are mutagenic. Smoking can damage the DNA a lot. It sometimes takes years before the damage has resolved and sometimes the damage will never be permanently resolved.
No direct cause of cancer
The Welcome Trust Sanger Institute discovered that the average number of mutations per cigarettes is one DNA mutation per fifteen cigarettes. The mutation can cause a mistake in the genetic code and mistakes in the genetic code can lead to the development of a type of cancer. The research concludes that the mutations caused by cigarettes don't cause cancer. According to the researchers, cancer is caused by the combination of multiple mutations.
Smoking causes permanent damage to DNA. This damage is still very visible with people who have stopped smoking. Sometimes the damage to the DNA gets resolved but in a lot of cases, the damage caused by smoking is permanent. Smoking will also severely damage the DNA of a baby permanently during pregnancy and pregnant women who smoke will put the health of their baby at high risk by doing so.
Smoking or stop smoking? Smoking is bad for you, we are confirming that again. The chemicals that get released with smoking can cause permanent mutations in the DNA
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