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January 21, 2022

Smoking can cause cancer-forming process in only 15 minutes: study

You wouldn’t think it, but people these days are still starting to smoke.

Not still  smoking, but actually picking up that initial cigarette and lighting up for the first time. They’re starting a habit that was once commonplace, then panned, then wholly taboo and now, likely as a result of the previous incarnation, kind of trendy again.

Their reasoning? Relax, bra, I’m not going to be one of those hacks smoking for 20, 30 years. It’s not going to harm anyone.

Perhaps, though in a country like Canada that’s forced to subsidize the disease-provoking behaviours of its citizens, here’s something to ponder going into the weekend:

According to a new report published in medical journal "Chemical Research in Toxicology," the chemicals ingested from smoking can start the cancer-forming process not in years, but in as little as 15 minutes.

Indeed, researchers working on the study monitored smokers’ intakes of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), a chemical found in cigarettes that’s been noted as a cause of cancer.

By taking an isolated look at the way the body metabolizes PAH, scientists found it was modified during ingestion and turned into another DNA-damaging chemical, one linked with cancer, in only 15-30 minutes.

What such findings may mean for cigarette sales, of course, isn’t yet known. Actually, Canadians are doing pretty well when it comes to butting out over the years. By Health Canada’s numbers, just 18 per cent of 15-and-over Canucks were smokers in 2009, a number that’s way down from 24 per cent, where that same figure stood at the turn of the millennium.

Still, that’s millions of Canadians continuing to light up, at the expense – in terms of health care, at least – of your income taxes.

So, we knew they’d be at risk of coming down with a host of smoking-related illnesses if they kept it up for years. Now, though, if you buy these latest findings, cancer might come knocking for smokers much quicker than originally thought.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...