New research has revealed that smoking damages DNA within minutes of a person inhaling smoke.
The Masonic Cancer Center reported that only one puff does immediate genetic damage and also raises the risk for cancer.
"The results reported here should serve as a stark warning to those who are considering starting to smoke cigarettes," lead study author Stephen S. Hecht, from the Masonic Cancer Center, said in a news release from the American Chemical Society.
Researchers studied a dangerous component, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, in cigarettes and tracked its path through a smokers body.
They found that it turned into a toxin when it entered the body. Within 15 to 30 minutes, it began damaging the smoker's DNA.
Researchers said that the speed with which the potentially lethal DNA assault began was similar to having injected the PAH directly into an individual's bloodstream.