Updated: Thursday, 09 Dec 2010, 6:48 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 09 Dec 2010, 5:33 PM EST
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A new report by the U.S. Surgeon General says taking even one puff of a cigarette can take years off your life.
The first Surgeon General's report about smoking in 1964 showed proof that cigarettes cause cancer. Now, the Surgeon General's 30th report tells us how that happens.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin said, "This report concludes that damage from tobacco smoke is immediate. Tthe chemicals in the tobacco smoke reach your lungs very quickly every time you inhale."
Dr. Mike Cummings of Roswell Park reviewed the report before it was released.
"This report really tells us about the biological mechanisms by which cigarette use leads to a variety of diseases like cancer, lung disease, and heart disease," said Dr. Cummings.
The report explains more about nicotine addiction. Each time you puff, nicotine is carried to your brain, where it stimulates specialized nicotine receptors on nerve cells. That changes the cells, and leads to the craving for more nicotine.
Dr. Cummings said, "What this report says new about that is that the earlier you expose your brain to nicotine, the harder it is for you to quit."
It also explains the role of cigarettes in causing heart attacks.
"And exposure to tobacco smoke quickly damages the blood vessels throughout the body and makes your blood more likely to clot," explained Dr. Benjamin.
And that also goes for second-hand smoke.
Dr. Cummings said, "Heart attacks went down as a result of the clean indoor air laws."
Every puff is doing you damage, all over your body. So the answer is clear.
"It's never too late to quit. But the sooner you quit, the better," said Dr. Benjamin.
For more information and help quitting, follow this link to the NY Quitline . You can also call them at 1-866-NY-QUITS.