Smoking and Asbestos: An Unhappy Partnership

So, you’re a smoker. Millions of Americans are, even today, when all the risks associated with smoking are quite apparent. Maybe you enjoy lighting up during your breaks, at lunch time, or after a long day at the factory. Perhaps it’s a way to relax, a way to unwind after the stresses of a tedious and difficult work shift.

hands-compassionNo doubt you know that smoking isn’t the best thing you can do for your health…but you’re hooked. Quitting has crossed your mind but your motivation is missing. Did you know, however, that if you were smoking AND being exposed to dangerous asbestos at the same time, you were increasing your risk of developing cancer?

Increased Risk

Studies have shown that smoking alone does not cause pleural mesothelioma nor does the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure increase the chances of being diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, further research has shown that the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure does indeed significantly increase the chances of developing lung cancer.

Doctors refer to this as a “synergistic effect”. (It’s important to remember that mesothelioma and lung cancer are two different things; mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs, not in the lung itself.)

This dangerous combination of smoking and asbestos exposure means there is likely to be many more diagnosed cases of asbestos-caused lung cancer than there are of mesothelioma, adding yet another reason why asbestos exposure was so toxic and should have been halted.

Though the connection between smoking and asbestos, and lung cancer was made decades ago, asbestos use continued.

It is important to note that if you were exposed to asbestos and you’re still smoking, your chances of being diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer continues to rise. If you are able to stop smoking, your chance of developing asbestos-caused lung cancer will lessen just as it would with any form of lung cancer related to smoking.

That means smoking cessation is especially important among individuals who were in any way exposed to the toxic mineral. In other words, if you were exposed to asbestos on-the-job or otherwise, DON’T SMOKE! If you can stop, DO IT!

The National Cancer Institute notes that asbestos-exposed smokers who stop smoking can decrease their risk of getting cancer up to 50 percent in just 5 years.

For some victims of asbestos exposure, however, the advice to stop smoking comes too late. No one ever told these individuals that asbestos materials could be toxic and that smoking and exposure was a lethal combination.

As a result, scores of shipbuilders, construction workers, mechanics, welders, insulators, steel mill workers, power plant employees, and others are suffering from asbestos-caused lung cancer and facing an uncertain future.

Some have already passed away and left their families shocked and heartbroken. After all, most had no idea that asbestos would cause them harm.

Smokers who were exposed to asbestos and now have lung cancer may be able to file suit against those who caused their negligent exposure to this toxic material. Just as with those who’ve developed mesothelioma, asbestos was the culprit in these lung cancer cases and those responsible for the exposure – asbestos-materials manufacturers, employers, etc. – should be held liable.

An attorney who is experienced in drafting asbestos-related lung cancer suits can help! Schedule a consultation for more details and to learn more about the dangers of smoking and asbestos.