Does smoking increase asbestos diseases risk?

While smoking was found to greatly increase the risk of lung cancer in people with a history of asbestos exposure, it was not found to be the cause of developing other asbestos diseases.

answered by Treven Pyles

Smoking increases the risk of certain lung diseases in people exposed to asbestos

According to reputable medical studies, tobacco smoking increases the risk of developing lung cancer in people with a history of asbestos exposure by 50 to 84 times.

Although smoking can contribute to the development of pulmonary diseases in people who were exposed to asbestos in occupational or military settings it is not the cause of these illnesses.

Such pulmonary conditions include:

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

Cigarette smoking and the use of other tobacco products, which contain toxic substances leads to lung cancer and 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.

It is worthy of note that, in people with a history of asbestos exposure who struggle with a form of lung disease which could have been caused by tobacco smoking, it is not smoking which is responsible for the occurrence of the disease, as it only contributes to the development of the disease. Asbestos fibers are the real culprit since they gradually cause inflammation and tissue scarring to the lungs, which eventually results in a form of lung disease. Thereby, smokers who have a history of asbestos exposure are still eligible for compensation from asbestos trust funds and, if they are a veteran, from the VA as well.

Asbestos exposure victims are eligible for compensation

In the regrettable case, you have a diagnosis which is the consequence of asbestos exposure, our attorneys will help you file a claim to recover the compensation you deserve for your physical and emotional distress.

With 30 years of experience in pursuing asbestos exposure cases, our lawyers will carefully prepare your claim for submission, as well as the necessary documents which must accompany it, such as your employment, military, and medical records.

These documents will be used as proof of your occupational or military asbestos exposure and related diagnosis. Although the legal process is very complex in asbestos exposure cases, your involvement will be minimal, which will allow you to continue focusing on your health and treatment. We will strive to recover compensation on your behalf in the shortest time possible.

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