SMOKING: The number one cause of lung cancer


Lung cancer is a disease in which a primary cancer (the original site where
the cancer occurred) develops in the tissue of the lungs. Lung cancer was first
described by doctors in the mid 1800\'s. At the turn of the century, it was still
considered a rarity; that has changed dramatically. What has not changed is the
difficultly of detecting lung cancer in its earliest stages when it has the
greatest chance of being successfully treated. "Lung cancer is the leading
cause of death from cancer among both men and women, with 168,000 new cases in
1992 and 146,00 deaths" (Winawer 283).

"If you fall into the following categories of people who have been heavy
smokers, you have the greatest chance of being diagnosed with lung cancer: a
male over 60; someone who has smoked one for more packs of cigarettes a day for
20 years or longer; someone who began to smoke before the age of 20 and is still
smoking: a worker in a industrial plant with a high risk material, such as
asbestos, who also smoke. Someone who has persistent or violent smokers cough;
someone who does not smoke but is frequently exposed to unnecessary passive
smoke" (Cooper 114-120).

Numerous studies all over the world have shown a link between cigarette
smoking and lung cancer, as well as other cancers, with an increase in cigarette
smoking followed by an increase of lung cancer. Most of these studies involve
the testing of non-smokers and smokers to see how things can affect them
differently and why. The most common symptom of lung cancer is a cough caused by
a blockage of the air passage to the lung as the tumor grows. Smoking is a major
cause of lung cancer, as well as other cancers and diseases, such as emphysema
and chronic bronchitis. "Smoking is considered the single largest
unnecessary and preventable cause of disease and early death in the United
States" (Napoli 123).

The tobacco plant dates back 7,000 years, originating somewhere between North
and South America. Native Americans may have been the first people to smoke,
chew, or snuff tobacco, and they introduced it to European explorers. In the
17th and 18th centuries it increased in popularity. "In 1761 John Hill, a
physician in London, reported an association between snuff and cancer of the
nose. Thirty years later a doctor in Germany reported on a relationship between
tobacco use and lip cancer." (Altman and Sarg 252). However, it was not
until the 20th century that researchers started seriously investigating the use
of tobacco and its consequences. Studies conducted by scientists in different
countries began appearing in medical journals describing the relationship
between cigarette smoking and cancer and other various diseases.

"The first study in the United States citing conclusive evidence of the
association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer was published in 1950. In
1964, the United States surgeon generals landmark report, "The Health
Consequences of Smoking," was released which showed strong casual
relationship between smoking and lung cancer" (Altman and Sarg). Since that
time researchers have sought and obtained corroborative evidence from many
different sources that cigarette smoking leads to early death. There are now
thousands of studies that detail many different and severe consequences of

The only organization that maintains that there is no definite proof of the
hazards of smoking is the Tobacco Institute, created and funded by the tobacco
industry to lobby and coordinate its public relations. When the Tobacco Industry
says something like this it makes you wonder how many of there employees have
gotten lung cancer from smoking there tobacco products.

Research has also been done on the effect of tobacco smoke on non-smokers.
Evidence of its harmful potential is mounting: "According the National
Cancer Institute, non-smokers who live with a smoker are increased risk of
developing lung cancer. Epidemiological studies indicate that the risk for lung
cancer in non-smokers increases 30% if they are married to a smoker; the risk
increases to 70% if the spouses is a heavy smoker" (Altman and Sarg 253).
Involuntary smoking may be partially harmful for specific population groups,
such as children. My opinion is that a child receiving lung cancer because their
parents smoked should be punished in some way, like a big fine, or never be able
to buy another pack of cancer their entire lives. " In 1990 the
Environmental Protection Agency concluded that passive or involuntary smoking
causes 3,000 deaths a year as well as a substantial number of other respiratory
illness or deaths among the children of smokers"(Simmonds 527). The unborn
child of