How Smoking Causes Lung Cancer

How Smoking Causes Lung Cancer

It has been well known for the entire second half of the 20. century that smoking caused lung cancer. Smoking not only increases the risk of lung cancer among smokers, but the risk of esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, oral cavity cancer, kidney cancer and also laryngeal cancer is increased as well. These forms of cancers are expected to rise among women as a result of their increased levels of smoking.

The heavy use of tobacco not only causes different types of cancer, but it also increases the risk of many cardiovascular diseases. In eastern and also central europe more than 400 000 premature deaths are caused by tobacco smoking each year. The current levels of lung cancer among young men in eastern and central europe is greater than ever before. Cigarette smoking is unfortunately still going up in central and eastern europe and also in China, where tobacco related deaths are increasing very rapidly. Lung cancer is the major tobacco-related tumor and the leading cause of cancer death in men in almost all developed countries. Since lung cancer is frequently fatal, mortality rates are high, and consequently so are the social costs.

Cigarette smoking among women has also increased dramatically. More and more women take up cigarette smoking all over the world. For many years it appeared that the rates of lung cancer where low and that tobacco was not having the same effect for women as it has for men. But this has now turned out to be false and there is no evidence that the risk of lung cancer because of smoking is greater in men than in women. It takes a long time between the exposure and the effect. Lung cancer now exceeds breast cancer as the leading cancer cause of death in women in Canada, the USA, Scotland, and many other countries.

Cigarette smoking kills half of all those who adopt the habit, with half of the death occurring in middle age and each losing about 20 years of non-smoker’s life expectancy. Lung cancer is of course the most common cause of death but cigarette smoking can cause death in 24 different ways. Cigarette smoking in men has been declining while it has been increasing in women. And also the lung cancer rates have increased among women and decreased among men. Tobacco is a addictive drug, there is no such thing as a “safe” cigarette, young adults should be convinced not to smoke and smokers should be helped and urged to stop. Hopefully some day in the future we can say “how smoking caused lung cancer” not “how smoking causes lung cancer.”

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