Smoking Damage Starts Minute After Lighting Up

New research suggests that <"">cigarette smoking creates damage in the body just minutes after a smoker inhales for the first time, wrote US News.

Scientists reviewed the level of one polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), a component of cigarettes that is linked to cancer, in 12 smokers, said US News. PAH began damaging the study group smokers within just 15-to-30 minutes of finishing one cigarette, noted US News. The report is published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

“Almost everybody knows that smoking can cause lung cancer,” said Martin Dockrell, director of policy and research at the advocacy group Action on Smoking and Health, speaking to BBC News, quoted US News. “The chilling thing about this research is that it shows just how early the very first stages of the process begin—not in 30 years, but within 30 minutes of a single cigarette. But it is never too late to quit,” added Dockrell.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America, with cigarettes linked to some 443,000 deaths and $100 billion spent in healthcare costs annually.

Science Daily previously pointed out that not only is tobacco use the number one cause of preventable death worldwide, but the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over five million people die annually from smoking. Worldwide, said Reuters, also citing the WHO, cigarettes deaths occur in the form of heart attacks, strokes, and cancers; an additional 430,000 adults die each year from inhaling second-hand smoke.

Recently, Reuters reported that U.S. researchers found that Americans inhale more cancer-causing ingredients when smoking, likely due to tobacco blends; Canadian, British, and Australian smokers apparently take in less of these dangerous ingredients.

Meanwhile, second-hand smoke has been linked to a variety of health issues and secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 substances, including over 50 known or suspected carcinogens, and is linked to many diseases in adults and children, such as sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, asthma, coronary heart disease, lung and sinus cancers, sinus problems, mental problems, and hearing loss. With some 126 million nonsmokers—60 percent of all U.S. non-smokers—exposed to secondhand smoke, the implications for third-hand smoke are staggering.

We also previously wrote that in addition to the many, many negative health effects linked to cigarette smoking, another study found stronger evidence linking cigarette smoking to colorectal cancer. And, yet another study concluded that just one cigarette can adversely affect young adults, increasing arterial stiffness in people 18 to 30 years of age by a surprising 25 percent. Stiff—or rigid—arteries can lead to cardiac issues because vessel resistance is increased and the heart has to work harder, which can lead to heart disease and stroke risk.

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law meant to allow the federal government broad authority over tobacco products and enable regulators to control cigarette packaging and marketing. The law is also meant to allow how much nicotine—the addictive component in cigarettes—is added in tobacco products.

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