(WASHINGTON) -- Smokers are essentially injecting nicotine directly into their veins when they take their first few drags of a cigarette, say scientists.
In a new study funded by the National Cancer Institute on the effects of inhaling cigarette smoke, researchers assert that genetic damage linked to cancer becomes evident within minutes of lighting up.
They say the harm to DNA happens so fast "it's equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream."
In fact, one particular type of pollutant, called phenanthrene, that's found in cigarette smoke takes just 15 to 30 minutes to form a substance that is able to "trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer."
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