Yesterday, on December 9th, the Surgeon General released a 704 page report explaining that smoking is bad for you. The headlines were “A single cigarette can kill you” and “85% of all lung cancer is caused by smoking.”
Regarding cancer, I definitely agree with these two statements in the executive summary:
“6. Exposure to cigarette smoke carcinogens leads to DNA damage and subsequent mutations in TP53 and KRAS in lung cancer.
7. There is consistent evidence that smoking leads to the presence of promoter methylation of key tumor suppressor genes such as P16 in lung cancer and other smoking-caused cancers.”
Failed DNA repair – the common theme for Cancer and Aging
Have you noticed that when someone gets lung cancer, the question that always follows is “was he/she a smoker?” No one asks if the person lived near radon or had unhealthy lifestyles (poor nutrition, stress, lack of exercise) that shorten telomeres. Have you ever heard of a partner getting cancer a year after their spouse died of cancer? We know that Cancer isn’t contagious, so how is that possible? I believe the stress they went through must have inhibited their telomerase activity, allowing their telomeres to erode more rapidly.
Yesterday’s report states that 85% of lung cancer is caused by smoking. But this conflicts with most previous studies showing that the majority of deaths from lung cancer are NOT statistically attributable to smoking? It could also be that 85% of all people have tried a cigarette and that is why 85% of all lung cancer patients have a smoking history. But is that causation?
Perhaps for our own good, the report declares that a single cigarette can kill you. But note that the same statistical, but not necessarily causal, association would exist between the percent of American’s who have kicked a soccer ball and any other disease group you wish to study. For example 85% of people who are struck by lightening have kicked a soccer ball. 85% of people who lose a limb in industrial machinery accidents have kicked a soccer ball…etc.
The following paragraph more closely resembles the traditional epidemiological dogma with regard to smoking and lung cancer:
“52.2% and 14.8% of lung cancer deaths were attributable to current and former cigarette smoking, respectively. In females, the corresponding figures were 11.8% and 2.8%. Among current male smokers, the relative risk was strongly correlated with the intensity and duration of cigarette smoking. “
Ando et al, International Journal of Cancer, Volume 105, Issue 2, pages 249–254, 10 June 2003
I am not trying to say smoking is not bad for you. It most certainly is. But it is also important that epidemiology not be distorted to further an anti-smoking agenda.
People often conceptualize cancer as a genetic lottery or moral retribution. But as I explain in this video, I believe that Cancer’s are largely made possible by telomere erosion and failed immune surveillance. Here are some other facts that may surprise you:
- Did you realize that 2/3 of people with any cancer don ‘t have a prior family history for that particular cancer?
- Did you realize that if you live long enough, you will get cancer of every organ? It’s just like if you drive your car for 1,000,000 miles, all the car parts will fail. When you change the transmission at 400,000 miles, you don’t blame abuse of the car or remember that your sister’s transmission failed as well.
To reiterate, smoking does cause lung cancer and many other illnesses and is a bad thing to do. But as this JAMA article suggests, the telomere erosion occurring in all stem cells is probably the major mechanism for cancer formation in all your organs and is reversible by telomerase activation, whether by TA-65 or other healthy lifestyle choices.
Old paradigms must make way for newer ones. There are currently 3,924 articles that come up when you type “telomere and cancer” into PubMed. Academics advance science incrementally. “Publish or perish.” But you can take advantage of a safe and natural quantum leap in DNA repair. “Refurbish or perish” should be your motto and that’s not just spin doctoring.