It's no secret that smoking is bad for your health.
But according to a new study reported by NBC News, smoking cigarettes can actually permanently damage your DNA. In a process called methylation, your genes change how they function which can lead to cancer and other diseases.
"Our study has found compelling evidence that smoking has a long-lasting impact on our molecular machinery, an impact that can last more than 30 years," said Roby Joehanes of Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School.
Both heart disease and cancer are caused by genetic damage, which can be inherited. However, most of the damage comes from day-to-day living and smoking is one of the biggest culprits.
The damage can be reversed in some cases in just 5 years. But for some, it can last upwards of 30 years.
Knowing what causes these diseases could lead to new drugs being created to help prevent them, the study says. If you can target what is causing the illnesses, you can focus on how to stop it.
Smoking rates have plummeted in the United States, with only 15% of adults smoking. Quitting has it's obvious health benefits. But you will never be rid of all the damage smoking can cause.