Smoking Can Alter Your DNA (Even After Quitting)

 

African American man hands breaking cigaretteSmoking cigarettes can leave a lasting imprint on human DNA, altering more than 7,000 genes in ways that may contribute to the development of smoking-related diseases, a new study says.

Reviewing results from blood samples taken from nearly 16,000 people in 16 prior studies, the researchers also found that for those who stopped smoking, most genes “recovered” within five years of quitting.

“Although this emphasizes the long-term residual effects of smoking, the good news is the sooner you can stop smoking, the better off you are,” said study author Dr. Stephanie London. She is deputy chief of the epidemiology branch of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Even so, London’s team found that some genetic changes remained, even 30 years after quitting smoking.