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News Link • Health and Physical Fitness

Even healthy-looking smokers have early cell damage...

Smokers who've received a clean bill of health from their doctor may believe cigarettes haven't harmed their lungs. However, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have found that even smokers who seem healthy have damaged airway cells, with characteristics similar to cells found in aggressive lung cancer.
The study, published today in the journal Stem Cell, compared that line the airway from healthy nonsmokers with those from smokers with no detectable lung disease. The smokers' cells showed early signs of impairment, similar to that found in lung cancer—providing evidence that smoking causes harm, even when there is no that anything is wrong.

"The study doesn't say these people have cancer, but that the cells are already starting to lose control and become disordered," says the study's senior investigator, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chairman and professor of at Weill Cornell Medical College. "The smoker thinks they are normal, and their doctor's exam is normal, but we know at the biologic level that all ' lungs are abnormal to some degree."

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