Smoking is injurious to health! This adage needs no proof since it has been established beyond doubt that cigarette smoke is laden with carcinogens and other harmful components. Now scientists have just uncovered something which will give one more reason to stop smoking. According to a recent study smoking causes a loss of Y chromosomes in the blood and puts the males at a greater risk of cancer.
Scientists from the Uppsala University in Sweden have found a link between smoking and the loss of Y chromosomes in blood cells. This loss of Y chromosomes is more prevalent in heavy smokers as compared to normal or moderate smokers.
Only men have Y chromosomes and this could explain why smoking is a bigger risk factor for causing cancer in males and in a wider perception that men have a shorter life expectancy as compared to females.
Lars Forsberg, researcher at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University said, “We have previously in 2014 demonstrated an association between loss of the Y chromosome in blood and greater risk for cancer. We now tested if there were any lifestyle or clinical factors that could be linked to loss of the Y chromosome. Out of a large number of factors that were studied, such as age, blood pressure, diabetes, alcohol intake and smoking, we found that loss of the Y chromosome in a fraction of the blood cells was more common in smokers than in non-smokers.”
The link between smoking and the loss of Y chromosome is true only in men who are compulsive smokers. Men who had been smoking previously but stopped smoking showed the same frequency of cells with the loss of Y chromosomes as men who have never smoked.
Forsberg added, “These results indicate that smoking can cause loss of the Y chromosome and that this process might be reversible. We found that the frequency of cells with loss of the Y chromosome was not different among ex-smokers compared to men who had never smoked. This discovery could be very persuasive for motivating smokers to quit.”
The details of the study was published in the journal Science.