Smokers beware: inhalation of tobacco results in cancer-causing chemicals to enter the body almost immediately, according to a new study headed by Professor Stephen Hecht of the University of Minnesota.
Four years ago, a study by Prof. Hecht discovered tobacco smoke in the urine of nearly half the babies of smoking parents.
His latest research results, published in a professional journal this week, “should serve as a stark warning to those who are considering starting to smoke cigarettes,” Prof. Hecht declared. He said his study is the first to investigate the effects of harmful substances in tobacco smoke, one of the principal causes of lung cancer and other genetic defects. The substance was “delivered by inhalation in cigarette smoke, without interference by other sources of exposure such as air pollution or the diet," he explained.
It previously has been assumed that smoking is detrimental to the body after long-term smoking. The new study, covering 12 patients, discovered that a toxic substance – that can cause mutations resulting in cancer – developed within 15 to 30 minutes after the inhalation of smoke.
In 2006, Prof. Hecht’s research concluded that smoking around infants caused nearly half of those being studies to produce urine with an unusually high level of a damaging substance that is normally found only in people who are exposed to tobacco smoke.
He said at the time that his findings "support the concept that persistent exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in childhood could be related to cancer later in life.”