Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoke causes nearly nine out of 10 cases of lung cancer. The longer a person has been smoking and the more packs a day smoked, the greater the risk. If a person stops smoking before lung cancer starts, the lung tissue slowly repairs itself.
Cigar and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as is cigarette smoking. Smoking low tar or "light" cigarettes increases the risk of lung cancer as much as regular cigarettes. There is concern that menthol cigarettes may increase the risk even more since the menthol allows smokers to inhale more deeply.
People who don't smoke but breathe the smoke of others may also be at a higher risk for lung cancer. Non-smokers who live with a smoker, for instance, have about a 20 to 30 percent greater risk of developing lung cancer. Non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace are also more likely to get lung cancer.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps a smoker can take to improve the length and quality of his or her life. Stopping smoking can be tough, but smokers don't have to quit alone.
Georgia smoking cessation help: 1-888-QUIT NOW
For more information, contact our lung health navigator, Lori McClung, at 706.812.2808.