How Smoking Leads to Cancer

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Smoking

It is an overall known fact that heavy, long-term cigarette smoking can cause cancer. However, exactly how smoking causes cancer still remains unknown to researchers world-wide, though some theories have appeared throughout the years.

Though they are able to get damaged, normal cells have the ability to self-repair. Sometimes, the cells are sloughed off and the lymph system gets rid of them to replace them with ones that are brand new. However, this process is not 100% fool-proof. Some cells can grow to become abnormal, growing into strange shapes and therefore not working properly. When this happens, they can keep growing to a level that the body will not be able to function with. The result is cancer.

Aside from those processes, the act of smoking is also known to produce carcinogenic substances. One example is tar. When smoking, the burning paper, in which the tobacco lies, is filled with tar. This will find its way into the lung’s small sacs called alveoli, which usually transport oxygen into the bloodstream. The presence of tar irritates the cells and this, too, could lead to abnormal cell growth.

Another substance that is present while smoking is nitrosamine. Nitrosamines have been tested clinically on small mammals and have been proven to be carcinogenic substances, as well. Although this is only present in small amounts when smoking, they may still have a huge effect, most of all when smoking heavily. Some systems in the smoking human may even be extra sensitive to this substance. And remember all the other substances that accumulate when smoking; if you add them all together, smoking is almost sure to lead to lung cancer in the long run.

Naturally, smoking only one or two cigarettes daily may not lead to lung cancer. However, smoking such a small amount is hardly feasible in today’s world due to nicotine addiction. Those who have been smoking regularly for twenty years and have been smoking a pack daily have very high chances of getting lung cancer.

Non-smokers do get lung cancer sometimes, though. But this does not mean that smoking is not a cause; merely that there are various causes but that smoking is one of them. Studies have already proven it. As the amount of people smoking cigarettes rises, so does the cancer rate.

A single factor mentioned above might not be able to prove the case of smoking. However, all of them put together make the case very strong. So strong, in fact, that we can state that smoking heavily in the long term can increase the odds of getting lung cancer by a mile. In fact, 87% of lung cancer can be attributed to smoking. Quit smoking now.