Genetic Mutations Protect Lucky Smokers from Lung Disease

By Gary Cutlack on at

Some smokers who don't suffer any ill effects after a lifetime of sucking on the sticks of disease may simply be in possession of a better genetic makeup than their cancer riddled peers, with research suggesting that getting lucky and having the right kind of genes can protect smokers from suffering COPD in later life.

Researchers looked at the health records of more than 50,000 people in an attempt to find out why some are coughing their lungs out halfway up the stairs while others cope just fine with the rigours of smoking. Those suffering from the basket of lung illnesses bundled together under the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease banner were found to have a genetic predisposition to lung disease or basically more rubbish lungs than the healthier section of smoking society, leading medical professionals to hope new methods of battling such diseases might now come to light.

The paper explains: "These results provide new insight into the specific mechanisms underlying airflow obstruction, COPD, and tobacco addiction, and show substantial shared genetic architecture underlying airflow obstruction across individuals, irrespective of smoking behaviour and other airway disease."

The University of Leicester's Prof Martin Tobin told the BBC: "There doesn't appear to be any kind of magic bullet that would give anyone guaranteed protection against tobacco smoke - they would still have lungs that were unhealthier than they would be had they been a non-smoker." [BBC]

Image credit: Lungs from Shutterstock