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‘Some smokers have DNA which protects lungs against damage’

HealthBy Morgan Flanagan Creagh
‘Some smokers have DNA which protects lungs against damage’

Smokers who live healthy long lives are protected from damage by their DNA, a new study has found.

Boffins at Nottingham and Leicester universities also discovered that genes dictate who gets addicted to tobacco products and who doesn’t.

The breakthrough findings were heralded by the UK’s Medical Research Council yesterday as being instrumental in the battle against diseases like emphysema.

The team, led by Professor Ian Hall, found that some DNA profiles had a lower risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung disorders like bronchitis and emphysema, despite external factors like smoking.

These genes appeared to effect the way lungs grow and respond to injury.

“Smoking is the biggest lifestyle risk factor for COPD. Many, but not all, smokers develop the disease. Genetics play a big part, as they do in smoking behaviour,” said Prof Hall.

“Our research helps to tell us why, paving the way for improved prevention and treatment. Stopping smoking is the best way to prevent smoking-related diseases such as COPD, cancers and heart disease.”

More than 300,000 people in Ireland are thought to suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders.