A new study has found that smoking a cigarette can cause genetic damage within minutes—so quickly it's "equivalent to injecting [pollutants] directly into the bloodstream." But, obviously, injecting terrible chemicals directly into your bloodstream won't make you cool.

And cigarettes, obviously, will! National Cancer Institute-funded scientists monitored the spread of a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons called phenanthrene through smokers' blood:

They... saw it form a toxic substance that is known to "trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer," the study said.

"The smokers developed maximum levels of the substance in a time frame that surprised even the researchers: just 15-30 minutes after the volunteers finished smoking," the study said.

Now, the researchers only tracked the PAH levels in 12 smokers. So maybe your genes are, like, immune! Also, the study didn't examine how quickly you look cool after you light up a cigarette, which is immediately. So, on balance, you should definitely keep smoking.

[AFP; image via AP]