What is the major cause of lung cancer? Is marijuana smoking harmful to the lungs?

Is lung cancer common?

Cancer of the lung is the most common cancer among men in the United States and is on the increase among women. All cancers of the lung have a high degree of malignancy. When lung cancer is diagnosed in its earlier stages, of course, the chances of cure are much greater. Small epidermoid carcinomas, for example, can be cured in a large percentage of patients. The other carcinomas are more difficult to cure. The survival rate is better for those persons whose lung cancer is found before it spreads outside the lung. Each year approximately 100,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the United States.

What is the major cause of lung cancer? 

The major cause of lung cancer is smoking. It is estimated that smoking causes 85 percent of all lung cancers. Does nicotine chewing gum work in helping to stop smoking? This chewing gum, which must be prescribed by a doctor, is designed for use by smokers who wish to stop smoking cigarettes. Smokers who have a high degree of nicotine dependence are most likely to benefit from its use, since it provides nicotine blood levels sufficient to alleviate withdrawal symptoms in smokers who want to stop smoking.

Can cigarette or cigar smoke harm the lungs of a non smoker? 

People who do not smoke, when they are in a smoke filled atmosphere, inhale a good deal of smoke that is not drawn through the cigarette. Smoke exhaled by smokers is filtered by the lungs of the smoker. Undiluted smoke, on the other hand, contains much higher percentages of tar, nicotine and noxious gases than exhaled smoke.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that between 500 and 5,000 cases of lung cancer appear each year in non-smokers as a result of inhaling someone else's smoke. Some scientists question that statistic. Even though this issue has not yet been resolved, it is cause for concern. Studies show that children in households where one or both parents smoke have double the amount of bronchitis or pneumonia during the first year of life as do children in non smoking households. They also have more adenoid and tonsil operations than do children of parents who do not smoke.
Tobacco smoke is also dangerous to people with certain kinds of heart disease. It can cause breathing problems in some persons and can set off strong allergic reactions in others.

Once a person has smoked, can the damage be undone? 

Once a person stops smoking, the body can clear the lungs and protect them from further damage as well as decrease the risk for lung cancer.

Is marijuana smoking harmful to the lungs? 

There is some evidence that marijuana may have the same harmful, paralyzing effects on the cilia and on the mucus production as cigarette smoke. Also, since marijuana cigarettes contain much more tar than do tobacco cigarettes, they may be more harmful. Marijuana smokers inhale very deeply and hold the smoke for a long time in their lungs. They also smoke the cigarette down to the very end where tar concentrations are the highest. The scientific evidence is just beginning to be gathered but researchers are beginning to conclude that marijuana smoking may be a more serious problem than was originally anticipated.

Is there any research being done on ways of preventing lung cancer? 

There are several studies underway, trying to determine whether modifying or adding to the diet can have an effect on the risk of lung cancer. One study involves people who are at high risk for lung cancer because they have been exposed to asbestos at work. These people are taking betacarotene and retinol (substances from which vitamin A is formed) daily. Another study involves cigarette smokers and ex smokers and is designed to determine the value of daily oral vitamin A in preventing cancer.

What is Lung Cancer: 10 things you should know about lung cancer

Is the use of smokeless tobacco becoming more prevalent in the United States? 

Yes. Smokeless tobacco which includes snuff and chewing tobacco as well as the newer cloth pouches filled with tobacco is being advertised as a replacement for cigarettes. Users either put a pouch or a wad in the cheek and suck, or place a pinch of snuff (finely cut tobacco) between the lower lip and teeth, where it stimulates the flow of saliva and mixes with it (called dipping). In both instances the increased saliva must either be spit out or swallowed.

Lung Cancer: Is Air Pollution a Major Cause?

Is smokeless tobacco harmful? 

Yes. It's tobacco and is habit forming. The nicotine in it lifts up the person and then lets them down. This high low effect on the nervous system sets a person up for continued need.

Habitual use of chewing tobacco and snuff can lead to other health hazards, including the following:

• Leukoplakia, leathery white patches inside the mouth, are the result of direct contact with, and continued irritation by, tobacco juice. About 5 percent of cases of leukoplakia develop into oral cancer.

• The sense of taste and the ability to smell are lessened, which results in the need to add more salt and sugar to food.

• In addition to the bad breath and discolored teeth common to most tobacco users, dental problems can include receding gums, greater wear and tear on tooth enamel, and more tooth decay.

• Tobacco juices contain hundreds of chemicals which may delay wound healing.

• Nicotine also affects the heart and the rest of the circulatory system. As nicotine enters the bloodstream, the arteries tighten and become smaller, blood platelets clot, and the heartbeat increases, which may cause an increase in blood pressure.


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