Workers in industries with the highest rates of exposure to asbestos also smoke cigarettes at high rates. A study shows why this is problematic. The study revealed how asbestos and tobacco, together, increase the risk of developing lung cancer.
For anyone with a cancer diagnosis who worked around asbestos, talk to an attorney about your options. Just because you use or used tobacco products does not mean you don’t have a claim.
Smoking rates among top industries that expose workers to asbestos
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15.5 percent of U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. The industries that have the highest rates of worker exposure to asbestos have even higher numbers of smokers:
- Construction workers smoke at a rate of 31.4 percent
- Mechanics at a rate of 27.2 percent
- Firefighters at 16.4 percent
The link between smoking, asbestos and lung cancer
In the study, researchers reviewed 52,000 medical records from those frequently exposed to asbestos at work, as well as those who were not exposed. The results showed that the combination of asbestos exposure and smoking greatly increases a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.
Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer too. While most workers in the industries with high rates of asbestos exposure do not smoke, they are still at an increased risk.
How is mesothelioma different from lung cancer?
The difference lies in the location where cancer develops. Put in overly simplified terms: lung cancer develops in the lungs and often results in distinct masses while mesothelioma develops in the lung lining and results in interconnected masses.
Regardless of the type of cancer diagnosis, people exposed to asbestos at work may have the right to compensation even if they smoke. Learn about your options if you or a loved one has an asbestos-related illness.