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Smoking May Lead to Chromosome Damage and Accelerated Aging

In a large-scale study, which was presented this week on the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Milan, Italy, researchers reported that smokers had more chances to have shorter end fragments of telomeres, which are known indicators of aging and cells’ ability to repair and regenerate themselves.

The research team from the Chinese University of Hong Kong used genetic and health data from the UK Biobank for their study. Information on leucocyte telomere length taken from patient blood tests was correlated to current, previous, and non-smoking status as well as the level of addiction to smoking and the quantity of cigarettes smoked.

The study authors say: “We found that current smoking status was statistically significantly associated with shorter leukocyte telomere length, whereas previous smokers and people who had never smoked didn’t show significantly shorter leukocyte telomere length. Among people who used to smoke, there was a trend toward shorter telomere length, but this was not statistically significant.”

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