Smoking can cause mutation in genes
Both active and passive smoking is known to cause mutation in tumour suppressing genes, said Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India.
Smoking can cause gene defects by causing aberration in tumour suppressing genes leading to mutations. Tumour producing genes are called oncogenes and cancer-suppressing genes are called tumour-suppressing genes.
There is an important link between tobacco smoke and increased production of prostaglandin E-2. In smokers levels of EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor gene) ligandin are increased which can lead to tumour cell growth. There is an association between EGFR mutations and the amount and duration ofcigarette smoking, with the highest incidence of mutations seen in never smokers. Mutations were less common in people who stopped smoking cigarettes less than 25 years ago.
Tobacco addiction is one of the biggest menaces to the mankind. The only way to curb this menace is to declare tobacco drug and cigarette and bidi as the vehicle of the drug. Nicotine present in tobacco and cigarette has been used in many medicinal preparations in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease andulcerative colitis. Once tobacco related products come under FDA or Drugs Controller of India they can be banned to be available on the road and can only be available through chemist for de-addiction or for selected medical indications.
One minute of smoking leads to reduction of one minute of person’s life. An average cigarette reduces six minutes of life. Smoking is practically related to every possible disease including heart attack, cancer and paralysis. 50% of tobacco consumers ultimately die of disease related to tobacco.
Tobacco smoking strongly increases the risk of developing cancer of the lung, oral cavity (mouth), pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, bladder and renal pelvis (the kidney outlet). It also increases the risk of cancers of the nasal cavities (nose) and sinuses, stomach, liver, kidney, cervix (neck of the uterus) and bone marrow (myeloid leukaemia).
There has been a change in the scenario of occurrence of cancers in the country. Today the most common cancer in men islung cancer and the cancer of the head and neck. While the cancer of the cervix is still no. 1 cancer in the country, but in metros like Delhi and Mumbai, cancer of the breast has now taken over the position of no. 1 in women.
It is nicotine in tobacco which is addicting and responsible for cardiovascular complications and while tar in tobacco is carcinogenic and related to cancers. Tobacco consumption can also cause early cataract and many eye disorders. Smoking during pregnancy is related to miscarriage, premature deliveryand low birth-weight babies.
The combination of different cancer factors can produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. In particular, synergies have been found between smoking and:
- Exposure to arsenic, asbestos and radon at the workplace for lung cancer;
- Alcohol consumption for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus;
- Human papillomavirus infection for cervix cancer (neck of the uterus).
Over one thousand million people worldwide smoke tobacco. The percentage of smokers has decreased in developed countries, but is increasing in developing countries and among women.