In research described as "a stark warning" to those tempted to start smoking, scientists are reporting that cigarette smoke begins to cause genetic damage within MINUTES–not years–after inhalation into the lungs.

And there is growing evidence that exposure to a group of chemicals known as type-2 alkenes–found in many different sources, including the smoke inhaled from cigarettes, the exhaust of automobiles and even the steam from French fries–can increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

Lung cancer claims a global toll of 3,000 lives each day, largely as a result of cigarette smoking. Smoking also is linked to at least 18 other types of cancer. Evidence indicates that harmful substances in tobacco smoke termed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, are one of the culprits in causing lung cancer. Now scientists have discovered the specific way in which the PAHs in cigarette smoke cause DNA damage in humans.

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