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Smoking may cause instant genetic damage

A person is shown smoking a cigarette in this undated file image.

January 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The first few puffs on a cigarette can cause genetic damage that's linked to cancer within minutes. Specifically, it's a pollutant in the smoke that causes the damage.

The reaction is so fast that experts say it's just like injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream.

Lung cancer kills about 3,000 people around the world each day and 90 percent of those deaths are attributed to cigarette smoking.

The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute.