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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month (Part 2 of 3) – Smoking

Continuing in our series of articles during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, here is the latest information regarding smoking and lung cancer, as well as conventional and unconventional solutions to prevent lung cancer due to smoking.

It's no surprise to hear that smoking causes lung cancer, but why does it cause lung cancer? Is there a way to lower your risk of lung cancer by smoking different kinds of tobacco cigarettes?

“Filters and low-tar cigarettes make little difference – your lung cancer risk is not lower compared to smokers of average cigarettes. This may be because smokers tend to change the way they smoke in order to satisfy their nicotine craving, for example by taking bigger puffs or smoking more cigarettes.”

– Cancer Research UK

How smoking causes cancer

The main way that smoking causes cancer is by damaging the cells that line the lungs , including key genes that protect us against cancer. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage. What you may not know is, when you inhale cigarette smoke, changes in your lung tissue begin almost immediately.

But what if I only decide to smoke socially at parties?

As simple as that sounds it’s not. Cigarette addiction is said to be stronger than Heroin addiction. It’s also more accepted in society, which makes it even harder to quit. The best plan is to not to even start smoking.

I don't smoke, but people close to me do (friends, family, partner, colleagues).

Encouraging ones you care about to quit smoking has two main benefits. The first is helping save their life, but more importantly, saving your own life.

How much do you know about second hand smoke?

Did you know that, according to a study from the WHO (World Health Organization), second hand smoke contributes to 600,000 deaths every year? That is approximately one in one hundred deaths worldwide, due to passive smoking!

There are two main types of secondhand smoke that can be inhaled and although both forms are dangerous, sidestream smoke, the actual smoke coming off the end of a cigarette that bystanders inhale around the smoker is actually more dangerous than mainsteam smoke, the smoke inhaled/exhaled by the smoker, because of the temperature becomes a lot hotter when it is inhaled, permitting some of the dangerous chemicals to burn up, compared to the smoke emitting from the end of the cigarette, which is “cooler”, releasing more toxic chemicals into the air, to be inhaled by people.

How do I protect myself (and others) from inhaling second hand smoke?

There are two main ways. One is to completely avoid smokers and areas where people smoke, but that's not as easy as one thinks, especially in public areas. The other way is encouraging your place of business to use a smoking cabin, or if you are a current smoker, to use smoking cabins when possible rather than smoking “out in the open”.

Despite contrary belief, smoking cabins are built solely for the protection of non-smokers. A benefit is that they end up accommodating everyone, because non-smokers can be in the same area as smokers without being affected by passive smoke, or the scent of tobacco smoke. This means families and friends can stay close together in public venues like airports or restaurants for example; and colleagues during working hours and breaks.

Businesses that adopt smoking cabins as an interim solution towards improving the air quality in their spaces prefer smoking cabins designed with instant capturing, so the smoke is captured immediately as it is released from both the smoker and the cigarette. This ensures that the passive smoke is not spread, nor the smell of cigarette smoke.

Summary

Smoking constitutes the majority of preventable lung cancers, but non-smokers can take action as well to lower their risk.

Stay tuned

Make sure to subscribe to “Get Qlean” and never miss out on an important article about your air quality and health. Our next article is devoted to exposing the less talked about ways (but equally important) people get lung cancer; “Occupational Hazards and Conditions”. You don't want to miss this!


Additional Sources:
Cleveland Clinic: Secondhand Smoke: Dangers
WHO study: Second-hand smoke kills 600,000 a year
Cancer Research UK: How smoking causes cancer
Mayo clinic: Lung cancer – Overview

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