Pack a Day Smoking Habit Changes Lung Cells
Smoking a pack of cigarettes every day for a year causes 150 genetic changes—mutations—to each lung cell in the body, according to a recent study. The study showed the highest number of smoking-related changes in lung cells, but also found mutations in the bladder, liver, mouth, and throat.
Cancer is caused by mutations in the cells' DNA and smoking has been linked to about 17 different types of cancer. This study is the first to show a direct correlation between the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of DNA changes over time.
Researchers analyzed tissue from more than 5,000 cancerous tumors and were able to observe and count the mutations on a molecular level. Examining the cellular changes more closely may provide important clues to how they develop and how to prevent them.
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