It might come as no surprise to discover that smokers are more likely to get cancer than non-smokers. This is particularly true of lung cancer, throat cancer and mouth cancer, which hardly ever affect non-smokers. These images that you might have been seeing on the cigarettes are real people
The link between smoking and lung cancer is clear even to a someone who has never even smoked.
- Over Ninety percent of lung cancer cases are due to smoking.
- If no-one smoked, lung cancer would be a rare disease – only 0.5 per cent of people who’ve never smoked a cigarette develop lung cancer.
- One in ten moderate smokers and almost one in five heavy smokers (more than 15 cigarettes a day) will die of lung cancer.
The more cigarettes you smoke in a day, and the longer you’ve smoked, the higher your risk of lung cancer. Similarly, the risk rises the deeper you inhale and the earlier in life you started smoking. For ex-smokers, it takes approximately 15 years before the risk of lung cancer drops to the same as that of a non-smoker.
If you smoke, the risk of contracting mouth cancer is four times higher than for a non-smoker. Cancer can start in many areas of the mouth, with the most common being on or underneath the tongue, or on the lips.
Other types of cancer that are more common in smokers are:
- bladder cancer
- cancer of the oesophagus
- cancer of the kidneys
- cancer of the pancreas
- cervical cancer
Lung damage from COPD is permanent, but giving up smoking at any stage reduces the rate of decline in lung capacity.
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