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Are Smokers Exposed to Asbestos at an Increased Risk of Developing Lung Cancer?

Both smoking and asbestos exposure can lead to lung cancer, the combination of these two risk factors further multiplying the danger and thereby creating a greater health risk.

answered by Treven Pyles

Smoking increases the risk of developing a lung disease in people exposed to asbestos to a great extent

Yes, definitely, as both smoking and asbestos exposure can lead to lung cancer, the combination of these two risk factors further multiplying the danger and thereby creating a greater health risk.

A study conducted in 2013 included over 50,000 medical records and established the way smoking and occupational asbestos exposure has a synergistic effect on death rates of lung cancer. Workplace asbestos exposure was associated with an increased lung cancer death rate that was 5 times higher than the average, but when smoking was combined with asbestos exposure, the death rate of lung cancer was 28 times greater than the average.

Cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products that contain toxic substances lead to lung cancer, and the tobacco smoke weakens the lungs thereby making smokers more susceptible to respiratory diseases. Therefore, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure is considered deadly.

Here is how smoking can contribute to the development and aggressiveness of asbestos-related diseases. Smoking causes the following respiratory system issues:

  • Impairment of the natural self-cleaning ability of the lungs: Smoking causes damage to the brush-like structures called cilia in the airways making the expulsion of harmful asbestos fibers difficult.
  • Increased inflammation and lung scarring: Both asbestos fibers and tobacco smoke can cause a build-up of scar tissue in the lungs. But, smoking alters the way the immune system reacts to asbestos leading to the development of more scar tissues, which accelerates the onset of asbestosis.
  • Decreased oxygen absorbing capacity of the lungs: Smoking destroys the alveoli, the tiny air sacs that transfer oxygen into the blood. This further aggravates the breathing difficulty that occurs as a result of scar tissues formed around entrapped asbestos fibers.

Asbestos victims are eligible for financial compensation. If you or a family member suffers from lung cancer, we highly encourage you to contact Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. at 205.328.9200. Our diligent lawyers will help you recover the compensation you deserve.

*The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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