Smoking during childhood or in the teenage years can cause permanent
genetic damage to the lungs, regardless of how many years a person smoked
or when they quit.
The study, published in today's JOURNAL OF THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE,
examined 143 lung cancer patients and analyzed the genetic damage in the
patients' lungs caused by smoking.
"If we're right," said Dr. John Wiencke, who led the research,
"it says that something happens in adolescence that changes you, perhaps
The researchers, from the University of California at San Francisco,
said the findings were particularly alarming in light of the number of adolescents
who take up smoking every day.
"If it turns out that a very brief period of smoking during adolescence,
or starting then, will have this long-lasting effect in terms of cancer
development, even if you stop at a young age, that is absolutely frightening,"
said Dr. Minna, a lung cancer expert.
- ASSOCIATED PRESS, (4/6/99) "Young Face Greater Smoking Perils",
- New York Times, (4/7/99)
"Genetic Damage in Young Smokers Is Linked to Lung Cancer", DENISE
1999 -- All Rights Reserved|