We are aware smoking is an unhealthy habit.  Here’s a study that looks more closely at exactly how physiological harm is happening to the cell’s DNA.  The good news is after 5 years of smoking cessation, many smokers’ DNA had shed much of the smoking footprint.

Smoking Changes DNA Gene Expression

Over the years, smoking has been proven to cause dreading diseases that can lead to death. After a series of testing and deeper experimentation, scientists have found out another dangerous effect of smoking on human’s DNA.


“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,” said Roby Joehanes of Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School.


Reviewing results from blood samples taken from almost 16,000 people, the researchers also have proven that for those who stopped smoking, their DNA modification was back to normal after five years.


“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, deputy chief of the epidemiology branch of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Read more…

Using the DNA to reveal a smoker’s history my lead to better studies.

The team believes their new insight means DNA could be used to reveal a person’s smoking history in detail, to better inform studies that explore risk factors for diseases like heart disease and lung cancer. “These would be useful to identify the effects of smoking in (other) studies,” said London.


Understanding these gene changes also provides opportunity to develop — and target — new therapies.


“The study showed that several of the observed smoking-associated DNA methylation alterations are in genes involved in pulmonary function, hypertension and in diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer, all conditions known to be affected by cigarette smoking,” said Dr. Gianluca Severi, director of the Human Genetics Foundation, who was not involved in the study. “(By) developing a new and more accurate tool to determine past exposure to cigarette smoking, (we can) improve prediction of its effect on health.” Read more…

For smokers who need an incentive to quit, this article should be it!  The sooner you kick the habit, the sooner your DNA can return to normal.