Smoking and Asbestos Exposure Could Increase Risk of Lung Cancer

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Mesothelioma & Asbestos Published on June 13, 2018 and updated on March 7, 2022.

doctors looking at an xrayIf you were exposed to asbestos, you may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma or another asbestos-linked disease. However, you may be wondering if you have an even higher risk if you smoke cigarettes. Recent research shows that smoking and asbestos exposure are a bad combination.

If you developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-linked disease, it is important that you understand your legal rights to pursue compensation for the damages you sustained. The Maryland lung cancer lawyers at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl are well-versed about all aspects of mesothelioma claims. We can manage every aspect of your case and will not charge for our services unless you are compensated.

Research on Smoking and Asbestos Exposure

Research has shown a link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer in people who were exposed to asbestos. A 2007 study from American Family Physician Journal found that smoking increased the risk of lung cancer in those who had a history of being exposed to asbestos.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its 14th Report on Carcinogens, which also found that exposure to asbestos and tobacco smoking increased the risk of lung cancer.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also seems to acknowledge a link between smoking, asbestos exposure and asbestos-linked disease. The CDC advises those who have been exposed to asbestos to quit smoking to try to lower their risk of lung cancer or asbestos-related disease.

Effects of Smoking

It is no secret that smoking is bad for your health. Cigarettes contain many toxic substances that can weaken your lungs. This weakness can increase the risk of asbestos fibers being lodged in your lungs, which can cause you to contract diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Smoking cigarettes can weaken your lungs in the following ways:

  • Impairing your lungs’ ability to clean themselves – Your airways are lined with cilia, brush-like structures that are supposed to remove dust particles and other substances to keep your lungs clear. Smoking damages the cilia, making it more difficult for them to get rid of pollutants like the fibers from asbestos.
  • Causing inflammation and scarring – Both tobacco smoke and asbestos fibers can cause scarring in your lungs. Additionally, smoking alters how your immune system reacts to asbestos, causing your lungs to develop more scar tissue than they normally would. This can speed up the process of developing asbestosis.
  • Hurting your lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen – Over time, tobacco smoke destroys the tiny air sacs in your lungs that transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. This makes it more difficult for you to breathe because of the scar tissue. This could make breathing even more difficult if you have an asbestos-related illness.

Contact a Lawyer

If you believe that your employer or another party was responsible for your mesothelioma, it is important that you contact an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer for assistance. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl are experienced with mesothelioma cases and have the resources necessary to thoroughly investigate your situation.

We provide a free consultation to explain your legal rights to you and lay out your options for pursuing compensation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront fees and you only pay for our services if we help you recover on your claim.

Contact us today to schedule your free case review. Call 410-244-7005.