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Is There Conclusive Proof That Smoking Causes Lung Cancer?

written by: RoseMarchick • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 4/11/2011

There is a direct link and between smoking and lung cancer. This has been proven beyond any doubt and is a universally accepted fact within the medical community.

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    Is There Proof That Smoking Causes Lung Cancer?

    You may have heard that smoking is dangerous and bad for your health, but if you ever doubt those warnings familiarize yourself with some research on smoking and lung cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states unequivocally that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and that more people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. 

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    Risk Factors

    The American Association for Cancer Research indicates that smoking tobacco is the most important risk factor for developing lung cancer. Additionally, inhaling the smoke of others, or second-hand smoke, also increases one's risk of lung cancer. It is the dangerous chemicals within tobacco that greatly damage the lungs, which can eventually lead to the onset of lung cancer. There is a positive correlation between smoking and lunch cancer, meaning that the more a person smokes, the greater his or her chances of developing lung cancer.

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    Prevalence of Lung Cancer

    In 2006, lung cancer accounted for more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined. Specifically, in that year, 106,374 men and 90,080 women were diagnosed with lung cancer, while 89,243 men and 69,356 women died from lung cancer. The 1982 Surgeon General’s Report states that "Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in the United States." This is as true now as it was then, and there is extensive research proving the connection.

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    Smoking and Lung Cancer

    According to the CDC, about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80% of lung cancer deaths in women are due to smoking. It is not of question of is there conclusive proof that smoking causes lung cancer, The American Cancer Society reports that each year almost half a million people die of lunch cancer, meaning almost 1 of every 5 deaths is related to smoking. By comparison to other causes of death, cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined. Those that do not smoke themselves are also effected by lunch cancer, and each year about 3,400 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke.

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    Does Quitting Help?

    Many people question if they should bother to quit smoking if they are diagnosed with lung cancer, or even if quitting will reduce their risk of getting lung cancer at all. The National Cancer Institute is very clear that research shows quitting smoking significantly reduces the risk of developing and dying from lung cancer. This lowered risk increases the longer a person remains smoke free. For those already diagnosed with lung cancer, treatment is more successful if they quit smoking.