How Smoking Actually Mutates Your DNA

How Smoking Actually Mutates Your DNA

Stopping smoking might be tough, but here’s another reason to quit while you’re ahead.

It’s not news that smoking cigarettes is bad for you, but get this: a recent study has found that it can actually change your DNA.

The findings were published in the journal, Science, and they show that people who smoke 20 cigarettes or more a day accumulate around 150 permanent mutations in every single lung cell, each year.

Related: 10 Tips From Someone Who Did It: From Cleaning Your Car to Sniffing Ashtrays, Here’s How to Quit Smoking

In addition to having mutating lungs, these smokers will also have about 97 permanent mutations in their voice box tissue, 23 in their mouth, 18 in their bladder and 6 in the liver.


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Of course, what’s the result of these mutations? A higher risk of developing cancer. In each instance that it happens, there is another chance that the cell will become cancerous.

According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the USA, and accounts for almost half a million deaths, or 1 in every 5.

More than 16 million Americans currently live with a smoking related disease, and over 36 million people smoke. Thankfully, the percentage of people who do smoke has gone down 6% since 2005, but there’s still a ways to go.


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The highest levels of smoking can be found in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia, with the lowest levels in California and Utah.

If you’re thinking about quitting, click here for some helpful tips. It’s possible to do: each year over a million people in the United States successfully butt out for a healthier future.

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