Quit Smoking Decades Ago? You’re Still at Risk

Quit Smoking Decades Ago? You’re Still at Risk
Photo by simone mescolini / Shutterstock.com

Smoking cigarettes can permanently alter your DNA, causing health problems decades after you quit, according to a study released this week.

The study of nearly 16,000 people who have smoked found that most of the DNA damage associated with smoking disappears a few years after you give up the habit. However, some impacts last much longer, and may be contributing factors in:

  • Cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lung problems
  • Cardiovascular disorders

The study findings were published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, a journal of the American Heart Association.

In an AHA press release, study author Roby Joehanes — an instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston — says:

“Our study has found compelling evidence that smoking has a long-lasting impact on our molecular machinery, an impact that can last more than 30 years.”

However, Joehanes also notes the “encouraging news” that the majority of potential smoking-related damage to DNA reverses five years after quitting, “which means your body is trying to heal itself of the harmful impacts of tobacco smoking.”

Are you a former smoker? If so, does this news worry you? Sound off by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

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