The Dangers of Smoking Combined with Asbestos Exposure

Did you know that asbestos is a major cause of lung cancer? Many people think that smoking tobacco is the only way a person can develop lung cancer, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone who has lungs can get lung cancer, and the risk greatly increases when you add both cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure to the mix.

Asbestos has been classified in the United States as a known human carcinogen. It is the known cause of the diseases asbestosis, mesothelioma, and of course, lung cancer. Everyone may come into contact with asbestos at some point in their lifetime as it occurs naturally within our environment, but those who have worked around or handled the substance are more likely to develop illnesses.

If asbestos exposure is combined with cigarette smoking, an individual’s risk for developing lung cancer increases dramatically. Lung cancer occurs fifty to one hundred times more frequently in individuals exposed to asbestos who smoke than in the non-smoking, non-exposed population1. The likelihood of contracting lung cancer is dose-dependent; every exposure to these deadly substances increases your disease potential.

Smoking alone is a major cause of lung cancer mortality in the United States, with new studies revealing that 60% of smokers’ deaths are caused by the tobacco they use every day2. Now knowing that asbestos exposure combined with cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health, you might be thinking it is time to quit, especially if you have been exposed to asbestos in your lifetime. Smokers who quit smoking by the age of 50 can cut the risk of death in the next fifteen years by half!

If you aim to live a long life with healthy lungs, don’t mess with asbestos, and put that cigarette down!

Sources: 1, 2