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Smoking and Mesothelioma

Smoking tobacco products has long been held as the world's culprit for any disease. Fortunately for smoking, it is not the culprit behind mesothelioma. In fact, smoking does not ever cause mesothelioma. So far, the only scientifically linked cause of mesothelioma has been exposure to asbestos.

While it is true that smoking does not cause mesothelioma, it does not help anyone who has been diagnosed either. In addition, those who have been exposed to asbestos, either recently or a long time ago, should not smoke because smoking increases the chances of developing mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure.

Once a person has been exposed to asbestos, smoking is known to complicate the chances of developing an illness directly linked to asbestos. People who smoke and have been exposed to asbestos have 50 to 84 times the chance of developing asbestos as people who do not smoke and have been exposed to asbestos. There is therefore a related effect between smoking and asbestos, although smoking does not cause mesothelioma.

In the case of people who are scared that they will develop mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, the best thing to do is quit smoking. Smoking is known to weaken and damage the lungs. In addition, it is known to reduce the body's natural defenses and ability to remove asbestos fibers. When the fibers cannot be removed by the body, they are allowed to stay in the lungs and continue to irritate cells. This leads to more cell damage and scarring which increases the odds of developing mesothelioma down the line.

Another nasty side effect of smoking is that smoke from cigarettes irritates air passages and causes the body to produce more mucus in the lungs. The production of mucus prevents air from getting into the deeper parts of the lungs and in turn prevents the removal of asbestos fibers.

Once a person knows he or she has been exposed to asbestos, the top priority should be working on quitting smoking. A smoker that has ever in their entire life been exposed to asbestos should see a doctor to be checked for symptoms of mesothelioma and other diseases that are directly related to asbestos. Even if there aren't any signs or symptoms of the disease, the trip to the doctor is imperative for early detection.

By Joseph Devine