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January 23rd, 2012
12:05 AM ET

Some cancer patients continue to smoke after diagnosis

Doctors say smoking is such an addictive habit that many people still light up, even when they're seriously ill. Now a new study finds even cancer patients rely on tobacco to get them through the day, and that's not good.

According to new data, published in the online version of the journal CANCER, researchers have found a large number of colon and lung cancer patients did not give up smoking, even though they knew it was not good for them.

According to physicians, giving up tobacco is crucial after a cancer diagnosis because smoking can hinder treatment results.

Investigators looked at smoking rates in approximately 5,300 lung and colorectal cancer patents. At the time of their diagnosis, 39% of lung cancer patients and 14% of the colon cancer patients smoked. Looking at the same patients five months later, researchers found 14% of lung cancer patients and 9% of colon cancer patients were still smoking.

Doctors noted lung cancer patients who still lit up after a diagnosis were usually on Medicare, had had very little treatment for their condition and were heavy smokers before their diagnosis.

Those with colon cancer who continued to smoke, tended to be uninsured, under- educated males. They also were heavy smokers before treatment.

By using this data, researchers hope they can guide oncologists to identify continuous smokers, so doctors can help patients stay smoke free.

“These findings can help cancer clinicians identify patients who are at risk for smoking and guide tobacco counseling treatment development for cancer patients,” said Dr. Elyse R. Park, of the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, who headed up the research.

In an accompanying editorial in the online journal, Dr. Carolyn Dressler, of the Arkansas Department of Health in Little Rock, noted the importance of physicians and other caretakers to address tobacco cessation, especially when cancer patients are diagnosed.

“Most clinicians acknowledge the importance of addressing tobacco cessation in their patients; however, few do it,” Dressler wrote. “We know enough now to implement effective cessation programs to identify and help cancer patients quit at the time of diagnosis and support them to prevent relapse. By doing so, we maximize patients’ response to therapy, their quality of life, and their longevity."


soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Saoirse

    Some heroin addicts continue to use after they OD. Smoking is an addiction for some people. It's not that easy for everyone to stop, no matter what the reasons.

    January 23, 2012 at 03:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eric

      I know a good way to make them stop... Its called a swift kick out of the hospital. If they have no insurance and are too dumb to stop. Kick them out set up a place for them to die for no cost. Waste of money, life, and space. People wonder why healthcare is expensive this is why.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    Hell, if you already have cancer, why quit? I am a smoker. If I got cancer, what's the point, enjoy the time you have left. I have quit many times and the reason I restart is because when serious stress reveals it's ugly head, I can relieve that and think clearly and relax when I smoke, why should a cancer diagnosis be any different.

    January 23, 2012 at 08:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MashaSobaka

      My mother has lung disease caused by secondhand smoke. Thank you so, so much for contributing to her illness and eventual early death. So long as you're happy, right?

      January 23, 2012 at 10:09 | Report abuse |
    • thizz

      Masha- 2nd hand smoke really? you sure it wasn't a combination of all the other pollutants in our environment. I don't care what anyone says, 2nd hand smoke ALONE will not kill someone imo. I agree that's it's unhealthy, but consider how much smoke a smoker inhales from cigs in a day and how long it takes to die from it. I can't stand how non-smokers think that one little breath of smoke will shorten their life drastically. Chances are she lived in a big city, where air pollution is bad. Walking past a running car is worse than walking past a smoker.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
    • KarateGirl22

      "I hope you die from my second hand smoke?" Oh my god, you're a total j@ck@ss. You disgusting, weak-willed, pathetic losers are attacking this woman because she was victimized by years of second hand smoke as if this somehow justifies your own grotesque habit? Or satisfies some sick inner need to see others suffer? The only consolation I get from this is that someday you'll be the one getting all the radiation and toxic sludge "treatment", and when that day comes you'll remember your cruel, heartless words. If you're even infinitesimally cultured, go see Dr. Von Hagens's body exhibit. He has lungs on display – a healthy one, a coal miner's lung, and a smoker's lung. You can clearly see what awaits you, and from the way you and your pathetic cohorts are talking, you deserve it.

      January 23, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • kalen

      K folks, YOU DON'T KNOW ANYBODY WHO HAS DIED FROM SECONDHAND SMOKE.

      A) That's impossible. Secondhand smoke isn't a disease, it's and "environmental risk factor.
      B) There is no scientific consensus that secondhand smoke elevates cancer and respiratory illness rates.
      C) I don't care if you think a doctor told you your cancer was caused by secondhand smoke (Or ETS- Environmental Tobacco Smoke), he couldn't possibly know that, all sorts of behaviors and factors contribute to lung cancer-

      As for the science.... there isn't any:

      A) The EPA published a "Meta-Study" in 1993 outlining their case for the risks of ETS-
      Despite the name, a "Meta Study" (for those who didn't take stats in High-School) is not a scientific study. It is a compilation of pre-existing studies. This study had a few major flaws. First, they announced the results before publishing the study. Ooops. When the initial study didn't provide the results they announced, they double the margin of error and STILL didn't get to the 3000 deaths per-anum that they announced. So, they changed the results they announced on their web-page and hoped no one would notice.

      In fact, the study has been discredited by the WHO, and federal judges threw out the study in 98 after finding that the study's authors cherry picked results, rounded statistically significant numbers, used an invalid (and unprecedentedly wide margin of error) and engaged in an intentional "misrepresentation of statistically insignificant data to fraudulently garner the previously dictated conclusions."

      One judge went on to say that the study's authors should be investigated, and that the federal gov't would be "irresponsible to the point of negligent" to act on any data the study provided.

      The WHO published a real study, using statistically significant sample size, and found no statistically significant increase in respiratory illness correlating to ETS. They also found that the children of smokers " Were 22% LESS likely to suffer from illnesses commonly associated which tobacco use in adults". In fact, they went on to conclude that "it is possible that childhood exposure to ETS may actually decrease the likely hood of an adult diagnosis of cancer of the lungs and colon."

      January 23, 2012 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Well, now, Thizz, why don't you share your opinion about 2nd hand smoke to Dana Reeve. She died in 2006 of lung cancer caused by second-hand smoke. She had never smoked a day in her life but had been a lounge singer in smoke-filled clubs.
      It's called denial, look it up.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      There was a time, before sanity, when you could walk into an office anywhere and not become overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. It made no difference if you were a smoker or not...you would be inhaling as much burning tobacco as the next person. Everyone shared their smoke back then and the damage done to non-smokers' lungs was as severe as those who lit up.
      Fortunately, today, this doesn't have to happen since smokers are isolated both physically and socially from others.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • r

      I have elderly relatives who got COPD from years of going to bingo games in churches where a lot of people smoked and they were not smokers.

      January 23, 2012 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • aginghippy

      kalen,
      Thank you for making the effort to educate people about the myth regarding second hand smoke. It's all in vain, I fear, as this myth has been so thoroughly pushed by the government and media that it is accepted as fact. It's the favorite refrain of the nonsmoker who needs justification for his or her hatred of the smoker.
      Forget the fact that there is no science to support the ridiculous claims about the dangers of second hand smoke. Common sense should tell people that IF it were that deadly, then every man, woman and child who lived in the 60s should have died long ago. I am one of them, and I can assure you that we all witnessed smoking in movie theaters, grocery stores, airplanes, the workplace and even hospital rooms! Given the sheer number of people exposed to ETS on a daily basis, the number of lung cancer and heart disease cases should have been off the charts for all of us.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
    • sld

      What a good example of the naivete of the American people

      January 23, 2012 at 22:15 | Report abuse |
    • russellohhh

      Kalen is fun. Apparently,The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General". U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke."
      and several hundred other, similar studies were just beyond his/her comprehension. Ah, well.

      January 23, 2012 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
    • real

      Secondhand smoke is not dangerous unless you're lliving with a smoker who smokes indoors with the windows closed for some year or if you work in a place like a bar where there is smoking with little ventillation.

      January 24, 2012 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
  3. dx2718

    The doctors don't need this study to identify continuing smokers; they just need to sniff the air when the patient is in the room. Cancer patients should be given a choice: the cigarettes or cancer treatment, but not both, since the cigarettes render the treatment ineffective. Especially in the case of Medicare and uninsured patients, whose care the rest of us are paying for, we shouldn't be wasting our money on something that's not going to work. Many patients will probably choose the cigarettes over the treatment, and that's their choice to make.

    January 23, 2012 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rhodes

      " Cancer patients should be given a choice: the cigarettes or cancer treatment"

      Yea, let's make the fatties lose some weight before we treat them too!

      January 23, 2012 at 09:03 | Report abuse |
    • P.J.

      And let's not treat victims of car accidents if they have a history of speeding tickets or weren't wearing a seatbelt.

      January 23, 2012 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • docdewitt

      Well put!

      January 23, 2012 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      When smokers have heart attacks, let's wake them up and tell them their lives won't be saved unless they give up tobacco. Then when they don't we'll send teams to their homes to sniff them and yank out their stents and bypasses.
      Great idea! Plus, the blood spatter will be epic for their family to see. Great colour photos for the front page of the local paper, too. [/sarcasm] Asinine idea.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • ctb67

      Amen! That is logic that I'm talking about. As a liberal, I want all people to have access to health care, if they deserve it. My aunt has emphasima and was even in a coma and came out and still smokes. Nothing like seeing a flameout on an oxygen tank patient. I have no sympathy for her. We all have stress, I just don't choose to smoke it away because I'm that "special". We get what we get, some more, some less and as a taxpayer I'd gladly pay for some poor kid to get his cleft palate fixed than some smoker who refused to quit to get treatment that is just gonna cost me money.

      January 23, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      You guys are idiots. The point is if they keep smoking the treatment is just a waste of money. It doesn't work if they're still smoking. And in fact, there are treatments for which fat people must lose weight first before having them because otherwise they're likely to die from the treatment. If you can save someone's life, that's great, do it, but when smokers continue to smoke during their cancer treatments, they're negating the effects. This is the choice between not saving their life and not paying for their care, or paying for their care and still not saving their life because they sabotage their own treatment. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Welcome to government-funded health care.

      January 24, 2012 at 02:52 | Report abuse |
    • doomedgirl

      Wow, that is incredibly insensitive...are you going to say that to overweight meat eating people too? or people that don't breastfeed?

      March 16, 2012 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
  4. Rhodes

    I imagine a cancer diagnosis might be a bit stressful... Sure quitting would be a smart thing to do; then again, if you are going to die (lung cancer has a dismal survival rate) it is important to enjoy every remaining day to the fullest.

    I expect pain medication can hinder treatment and survival too, but I wouldn't skimp on that either.

    January 23, 2012 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. smart !

    ALL SMOKERS ARE IDIOTS!!!
    ...... how is something that is unhealthy "relaxing" ... knowing i am inhaling toxins into my body would stress me out even more!!!!..... what the hell is wrong with people!

    January 23, 2012 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thizz

      you know whats funny? everyone dies no matter what.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
    • dom625

      And all non-smokers are self-righteous jerks. You cannot apply names to an entire set of people unless you know all of us.

      The fact is we all have our vices. Some of us smoke because it's very relaxing. Some eat to excess and others kick back with a beer or three. Still others exercise to the point of exhaustion. Are we all idiots?

      January 23, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • Raevyn

      The difference, Dom, is that the other vices you speak of do not impact the health of those around them. I couldn't care less if people smoke...in their homes where I don't have to breathe it. I feel sorry for the non-smokers who are forced to live with smokers too inconsiderate to take it out into their yard.

      January 23, 2012 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      How can something unhealthy be relaxing? You make me laugh. So I guess you never see people drinking a glass of wine "to relax"? Or a martini, or a beer? Alcohol is not healthy. Show me verified, legal stats of those who actually die from second-hand smoke, and those who die from cirrohsis (sp?) of the liver, pancreatic cancer, and all of alcohol related problems including job loss, auto deaths, divorces and including homeless alcoholics that never get counted.

      January 23, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • alan s

      smart!: Your comment that all smokers are idiots is, well, not smart. First, tobacco is terribly habit-forming and it is difficult to quit. Second, some people enjoy smoking so much they choose to do it although they know the risks. (Just as people skydive, or box, or ride motorcycles, despite the risks.) That decision may, to the rest of us, seem unwise, but it doesn't make the smoker an idiot. (I am an ex-smoker who quit over seven years ago.) Liz, in her reply to you comment, asked how something unhealthy can be relaxing. Well, I don't think there's any inconsistency there. Alcohol is unhealthy, too, and also relaxing. Ditto all sorts of sedative drugs. But for heaven's sake, smart!, don't be so quick to make judgments about large groups of people.

      January 23, 2012 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Kayla

      No, just very addicted! I have tried to quit numerous times and it is the only habit that I have still not gotten rid of. I will keep trying until I get it done, but please try not to judge people.

      January 24, 2012 at 23:56 | Report abuse |
    • Kayla

      You have a lot to learn about addiction.

      January 24, 2012 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    I suppose it's up to the individual. If I were given 3 months to live, it certainly wouldn't make much sense to me to stop doing anything that I enjoyed. Horseback riding, reading to surfing, I'd do it as long as I possibly could. If I enjoyed a big fat cigar ....I would certainly smoke it. Mortality has it's limits!

    January 23, 2012 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. sacchrainkiss

    This isn't news, I used to work at a hospital and saw this all the time. Some of them will smoke through their trach tubes. Honestly though, I think the worst thing is walking past a cancer clinic and seeing three or four chemo/ oncology nurses smoking by the back door. I always think to myself, "really? You guys see the effects of this every single day and you're STILL smoking?!?"

    January 23, 2012 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zena

      Yeah, this always gets me, too. Just shows medical professionals aren't always the sharpest tools in the shed.

      January 23, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      They either don't believe it'll happen to them (superman complex), that they're in the statistical minority that can smoke and not suffer the ill effects (because they don't happen to everyone), OR they enjoy smoking/are addicted enough that they're willing to take the risk in order to continue their habit.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
  8. Connie

    My mother was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer,terminal,and was told without treatment she had maybe 2 months to live. She was told to quit her 2 pack a day habit. Her response was ' you tell me I am terminal, even with treatment so why should I quit '? She had the usual treatments.....3 full sets of chemo and kept smoking. That was almost 5 years ago. She is now 82 and remains active. The cancer is not gone....just not getting worse. I think until the medical people can show in black and white what quitting can do in terms of ' buying you time ' many smokers with cancer will remain unconvinced. Of course quitting smoking is going to be beneficial, so is eating properly,exercise etc. That is true for non smokers too or so the doctor will tell you when you go in for your yearly check up. There are studies on how many cancer patients continue smoking....where are the studies that show quitting actually helps ? I would rather see my mother do what she enjoys for what ever time she has left rather than struggle with stopping a habit she has had for almost 70 years ! Perhaps a person who is much younger at the time of diagnosis would benefit.....but the studies need to be done and shown to patients.

    January 23, 2012 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MashaSobaka

      Your mother is killing everyone around her with her addiction. THAT is why she should quit. Where is your sympathy for the people who get cancer and other diseases from your mother's secondhand smoke? Why should they be put in the same position when they never chose to be smokers?

      January 23, 2012 at 10:12 | Report abuse |
    • kalen

      MARTHA- You don't understand how science works do you?

      THERE IS NO PROOF ETS CAUSES CANCER-

      YOU DON'T KNOW ANYBODY WHO HAS DIED FROM SECONDHAND SMOKE.

      A) That's impossible. Secondhand smoke isn't a disease, it's and "environmental risk factor.
      B) There is no scientific consensus that secondhand smoke elevates cancer and respiratory illness rates.
      C) I don't care if you think a doctor told you your cancer was caused by secondhand smoke (Or ETS- Environmental Tobacco Smoke), he couldn't possibly know that, all sorts of behaviors and factors contribute to lung cancer-

      As for the science.... there isn't any:

      A) The EPA published a "Meta-Study" in 1993 outlining their case for the risks of ETS-
      Despite the name, a "Meta Study" (for those who didn't take stats in High-School) is not a scientific study. It is a compilation of pre-existing studies. This study had a few major flaws. First, they announced the results before publishing the study. Ooops. When the initial study didn't provide the results they announced, they double the margin of error and STILL didn't get to the 3000 deaths per-anum that they announced. So, they changed the results they announced on their web-page and hoped no one would notice.

      In fact, the study has been discredited by the WHO, and federal judges threw out the study in 98 after finding that the study's authors cherry picked results, rounded statistically significant numbers, used an invalid (and unprecedentedly wide margin of error) and engaged in an intentional "misrepresentation of statistically insignificant data to fraudulently garner the previously dictated conclusions."

      One judge went on to say that the study's authors should be investigated, and that the federal gov't would be "irresponsible to the point of negligent" to act on any data the study provided.

      The WHO published a real study, using statistically significant sample size, and found no statistically significant increase in respiratory illness correlating to ETS. They also found that the children of smokers " Were 22% LESS likely to suffer from illnesses commonly associated which tobacco use in adults". In fact, they went on to conclude that "it is possible that childhood exposure to ETS may actually decrease the likely hood of an adult diagnosis of cancer of the lungs and colon."

      January 23, 2012 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
    • alan s

      To Masha Sobaka: I think you're being a bit too quick to judge, Masha. We don't have enough facts to determine whether the lady's smoking has any effect on people around her. Maybe she only smokes alone, when outside in her own back yard.

      January 23, 2012 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
  9. MashaSobaka

    My mother has lung disease caused by secondhand smoke. She doesn't get to make the choice to keep smoking or give it up. Look, people...if you're going to have a habit, choose one that doesn't kill other people too. I have absolutely no sympathy for tobacco smokers. As far as I'm concerned they're murderers. So I don't care if their cancer treatments are difficult. That doesn't give them the right to keep up with a stupid addiction that may well end up taking someone else's life.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portland tony

      Amazing that doctors can pin down the cause of a cancer. Like your example. It couldn't have been caused by any other exposure like XRAYs, radon gas, diesel fumes, power plant emissions, genetic disposition and so on. Simply astonishing how far we've come.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • Smokin Joe

      Masha, I must be a murderer. I smoke a pack a day or more. I hope you die from my second hand smoke.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      Amen!

      January 24, 2012 at 00:36 | Report abuse |
    • glj

      Did they say it was caused by secondhand smoke or that it was caused by environmental factors? If it is caused by the environment, then it could have been anything. If you say it was defintely caused by second hand smoke, then I have to ask - did she live on a farm completely away from any other toxins like smog, radon, exhaus fumes, fumes from syntethic materials, etc,etc,etc,etc.

      January 24, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
  10. Connie

    I understand and even agree with both statements. I know people who never smoked but got cancer from secondhand. I also know a couple people who got lung cancer and never smoked and were not exposed to secondhand ....I myself am a breast cancer survivor.....but no one else in the family history has had breast cancer. Who can explain these things? Only a power greater than me, that is for sure. I was just making a statement about getting something in black and white ...some serious studies with facts and figures that would show these lung cancer patients that continuing to smoke will shorten their time ! People do not trust or believe their doctors like they use to.....and people like my mother need more than just the doctors words to convince them.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • johnkeating

      shrugs. Possibly wearing brasiers [that are too tight] causing chronic circulation problems in breasts. Diet too rich in saturated fats... causing clogging of capillaries and bigger vessels in the breasts.

      January 23, 2012 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  11. Dennis

    There has never been a cancer case where they can prove the cause was from second hand smoke. Its almost rediculous to think that after the smoke has been filtered through one humans lungs that its more dangerous to the people around that human. Its all speculative and alot of anti smokers have capitolised on this speculation to ridecule smokers. I know alot of non smokers how have fallen victim to this killer(cancer) in many different forms. People should quit looking to point the finger and realise cancer can kill anyone.

    January 23, 2012 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ctb67

      Fine, you can cherry pick and says secondhand smoke hasn't been PROVEN to cause cancer. By that arguement, I can argue the existance of a higher being. But I digress. How about asthma then, reactive airway disease, can you discount everything? Addictive people have selfish behaviours, regardless of what their addicted to, smoke, drink, shopping, excersize.I'd rather err on the side of caution and ASSUMe that my selfish behavoir could cause it and use it as a reason to improve myself, my spirit and my karma by quitting. If I'm right, I save people, if I'm wrong, I'm a stronger person because I don't need a crutch to deal with my stress and I have a crapload of money I may have been spending on smokes. Just looks like a win-win to me.

      January 23, 2012 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • russellohhh

      Yup, cancer kills anyone. It just kills smokers 25x faster than anyone else.

      January 23, 2012 at 23:13 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      Actually, you're wrong. They've done long-term studies showing that children who grow up in homes where at least one person smoked are more likely to have all sorts of health problems, from asthma to, yes, cancer. It may not be definitive proof (there could be some other correlated factor involved, I suppose) but it's pretty good evidence that in fact, second hand smoke causes cancer...and other bad things. It's fine to destroy your own health as long as you don't take other people with you.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:39 | Report abuse |
  12. blake

    Really people, to smoke or not to smoke , we've been doing it since we crawled out of the soup. Some did some did'nt back then. If your going to start the blame game, look no further than the media

    January 23, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Connie

    RE Breast Cancer......good ideas johnkeating....and maybe it was because of a curse that my great grandfathers gypsy aunt twice removed put on the first family member born with red hair !!!!!

    January 23, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16 which causes a mutation in the MC1R protein.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • Connie

      Chartreuxe.....that gypsy aunt would have been very disappointed to hear about the genes ! :o)

      January 23, 2012 at 20:16 | Report abuse |
  14. sukhoi

    Although I've never smoked a cigarette in my life, my guess is once one is diagnosed with cancer and undergoing cancer treatment it is probably not the easiest time to kick a severe nicotine addiction.

    Going through the pain, stress, and everything else that comes with a cancer diagnosis/treatment, I would imagine that it would make the withdrawal of quitting extremely difficult to deal with. This shouldn't be much of a surprise as it is obviously extremely difficult for a healthy person to knock the habit.

    January 23, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ab

    That's how powerful the addiction to nicotine is.

    January 23, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. kalen

    K folks, YOU DON'T KNOW ANYBODY WHO HAS DIED FROM SECONDHAND SMOKE.

    A) That's impossible. Secondhand smoke isn't a disease, it's and "environmental risk factor.
    B) There is no scientific consensus that secondhand smoke elevates cancer and respiratory illness rates.
    C) I don't care if you think a doctor told you your cancer was caused by secondhand smoke (Or ETS- Environmental Tobacco Smoke), he couldn't possibly know that, all sorts of behaviors and factors contribute to lung cancer-

    As for the science.... there isn't any:

    A) The EPA published a "Meta-Study" in 1993 outlining their case for the risks of ETS-
    Despite the name, a "Meta Study" (for those who didn't take stats in High-School) is not a scientific study. It is a compilation of pre-existing studies. This study had a few major flaws. First, they announced the results before publishing the study. Ooops. When the initial study didn't provide the results they announced, they double the margin of error and STILL didn't get to the 3000 deaths per-anum that they announced. So, they changed the results they announced on their web-page and hoped no one would notice.

    In fact, the study has been discredited by the WHO, and federal judges threw out the study in 98 after finding that the study's authors cherry picked results, rounded statistically significant numbers, used an invalid (and unprecedentedly wide margin of error) and engaged in an intentional "misrepresentation of statistically insignificant data to fraudulently garner the previously dictated conclusions."

    One judge went on to say that the study's authors should be investigated, and that the federal gov't would be "irresponsible to the point of negligent" to act on any data the study provided.

    The WHO published a real study, using statistically significant sample size, and found no statistically significant increase in respiratory illness correlating to ETS. They also found that the children of smokers " Were 22% LESS likely to suffer from illnesses commonly associated which tobacco use in adults". In fact, they went on to conclude that "it is possible that childhood exposure to ETS may actually decrease the likely hood of an adult diagnosis of cancer of the lungs and colon."

    January 23, 2012 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Raevyn

    Smokers have a right to smoke. It is legal, after all (though it shouldn't be). I have a right to not have to breathe their toxic exhaust though. Do it in your house or your car.

    January 23, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. bob

    100% the people that continue smoking with lung cancer will live longer then the one that quit because smoke provide a oily shield on the lung to make it continue working and if they quit the oil will be gone and they will die :) check statistic. Doctor a dumb to promote people to quit after they found cancer

    January 23, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dx2718

      0% that makes any sense.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:42 | Report abuse |
  19. sugartaste81

    Patrick Swayze, anyone?

    January 23, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Cheryl

    I smoked, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I tried to quit but it was too much at the time. I was under too much stress at that point. Smoking was my coping mechanism. So, I cut down, ate right (even gained weight) and did everything to limit additional stress on my body. Turns out I beat it and eventually was able to kick the habit, too.

    It took prayer and accountability to people that I loved and couldn't let down. If you are trying to quit, get the support of the people around you and pray. God is faithful to complete the good work His is doing in you.

    January 23, 2012 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Joe

    If you smoke you're an idiot. The dangers are proven.
    It's alright though because most of the idiots who smoke will die and thus fail to procreate. This will end their line of ignorant genes who can't weigh options thoroughly and choose the appropriate decision correctly. So please if you don't think it hurts you...go ahead..smoke. 100 years there will be no more smokers...

    January 23, 2012 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dx2718

      Unfortunately, cigarette smoke doesn't usually cause death quickly enough to prevent procreation. Instead, it allows procreation and then an environment where the kids grow up sickly, with asthma and other health problems, thus costing society billions in unnecessary health care costs.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
    • real

      Actually, smoking doesn't kill everyone. In fact, only 1 in 5 get lung cancer.

      January 24, 2012 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
  22. No Absolutes

    Human understanding and caring for each other both trump the absolutes listed in many of the vehement vitriolic comments on this particular story. Sad, really...

    I haven't smoked for 5 years. I am glad I quit. It was incredibly difficult.

    Dad was diagnosed with extremely advanced lung cancer (months or weeks left to live). He didn't stop smoking because he wasn't sure that going through the anxiety and suffering was worse than his cancer.

    Interestingly enough? The doctors didn't want to give him pain medicine on a regular basis because he might become addicted (think about it a while before you move to the next sentence...).

    Addiction is awful. Absolutes are worse.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Connie

      Medical logic often leaves me speechless. My mom lost over 30 pounds by the time she was diagnosed. She was told to try to put some weight on.....it would help her fight this thing. BUT.....no sour cream on her baked potato, no whipped cream on her apple pie, no butter and a big No-No to eat that snickers bar for a snack ! REALLY ????????

      January 23, 2012 at 20:06 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      You might be confused. Addiction is not an issue for someone who isn't going to live very long. My guess is the reason they wanted to hold back on the pain medication is because he would ACCLIMATE to it, not get addicted...that is, the more of it they use, the less effective it becomes.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:45 | Report abuse |
  23. Russled Jimmies

    "Some cancer patients continue to smoke after diagnosis"

    And some patients refuse to take antibiotics after diagnosis. Some patients neglect their daily prescriptions from their doctor. Some patients engage in mobility after being told not to move or walk around for a few days. Some people continue dangerous stunts or activities following a compound fracture or life threatening accident. People will be themselves, it's part of freedom. You can only do so much as a doctor, friend, or family member. Let natural selection take its course and sort out those who choose to better themselves versus those who want to live and die by their own hands.

    "Stop smoking, it's gonna kill you!" says the morbidly obese man with a triple beef cheeseburger.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      I don't really see how natural selection comes into play. The numerous diseases caused by smoking typically don't show up for many years, well after child-bearing age.

      January 24, 2012 at 02:58 | Report abuse |
  24. tes2de

    Continuing smoking after being diagnosed with cancer is clearly a heated one, especially when government dollars are being used to provide treatment to individuals who still continue drug use when it is contraindicated with treatment (and impedes its effectiveness). This same principle can also be applied to individuals who are obese and are diagnosed with health problems as a result, but do nothing to lose weight and change lifestyle habits. If people can't change the way they eat to improve their lifestyle, then quitting smoking sure as heck isn't going to happen especially when it's been said to have the same addictive strength as heroine. Health care providers have an obligation to see patients and provide advice, but why should they provide treatment if that patient is going to continue to harm their body in one way or another?

    January 23, 2012 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Robert

    No cure, no cause, no blame. Cancer = jobs. Life = death.

    January 23, 2012 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. S F

    Sad! Very sad! That addiction is said to be a "choice" of smoking, that governments ban drugs but allow nicotine addictive cigarettes. How about we start by outlawing this damn product and set an example for the world? The US wants to be the one and only world leader, but does not want to do anything about it... Well, not so true. Maybe one day they will bomb the cigarette factories... Keep hoping!

    January 23, 2012 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. HM

    This is very sad but demonstrates the power of addiction. A great site that has tips to quit smoking, inspirational quotes and research is http://www.resolutionguru.com Check it out if you need some motivation and help to be the best you! We all need support, especially to quit smoking.

    January 23, 2012 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Jewel

    After several quit attempts I can finally say I'm an ex smoker. But its always going to be a battle. Thing is there's the addiction to nicotine and the mental aspect of it. We tend to deal with life with smoking...when we want to wake up, when we want to relax, on the way to work, after a good meal etc. Not until you realize that, at least for me, was I "successful." Its easy to say what you would do in the same situation but since its not you, I would caution those of you that have, bot to judge. Nor should smokers say no one can get cancer from 2nd hand smoke. We're not drs nor scientist. One other thing, surely adults can have an adult conversation without name calling and hurtful words. Truly, come on. If the roles were reversed you wouldn't like it so why be so nasty with others.

    January 23, 2012 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • saywhatyoumean

      Good comment, I'm gonna paste that on my desktop to help remind me that I CAN quit – hopefully for good this time. I think whatever you do doesn't matter as long as it works. I was about to throw a "but" in here to say how hard it is, but you know how hard it is. Stay strong !

      January 23, 2012 at 21:36 | Report abuse |
  29. DyeDiet

    Take a look at how many questionable chemicals (dyes, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc.) we consume we our popular food and drinks. Go DyeDiet dot come to se RISK and NUTRITION of what we eat. Those risks may include risk of cancer which may be triggered by a hostile food additive.

    January 23, 2012 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. kim

    as a smoker myself, I think all smokers should be respectful of those who do not smoke. I NEVER smoke in the house and even when I'm outside in a public place, I look around to make sure I"m not to close to anyone. I don't think its fair to "look down upon" smokers as many do – like we are automatically less of a person because we smoke. I think some people think smokers are just losers, have low IQ's etc. You can be smoker AND a good person!

    January 23, 2012 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Dr. B

    Sometime ago patients were allowed to smoke in hospitals. Following a laborious head & neck cancer surgery, we would visit the patient on rounds... sometime they would be smoking through their trach holes!

    January 23, 2012 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. sld

    Chantix, people! My husband and I quit 5 years ago after 15 years as smokers. We now get a gag reflex when even smelling cigarette smoke. It's so worth the money for the script!

    January 23, 2012 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. xyz

    If they're gonna ban cigarettes, they'd have to ban alcohol, too – it has killed many people via drunk driving!

    January 24, 2012 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Trendsetter

    People should have the right to make stupid choices; however, they should not receive assistance from the government for health care if that is the case. Smoke, drink, do drugs, etc all day--but do it on your own tab-not the taxpayer's.

    January 24, 2012 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Miguel

      Well I'm glad to have read this. I'm on Chantix now, been smoke free for 3 day's. Chantix is great b/c there isn't really any hwwtdrail symptoms. I've smoked for 6 years & tried quitting cold turkey or w/ the patch a number of times before and always went back to smok'n. So far I miss part of the routine of being a smoker, relax'n w/ a cig after work or while hav'n a beer, but I'm try'n to focus on all of the positives, like not being resented by my co-workers for tak'n smoke breaks, not having to hide my smoking around people I'm interested in dating b/c it's a turn of the basically all non smokers. My hands & clothes not smelling. I've really been realizing how much time I save not smoking, I accomplish a lot more throughout the day not tak'n these 5 or 10 minute breaks to smoke a cig or 2. I'm on time more, b/c I'm not try'n to smoke a cig before I get in my car (new car refuse to smoke in it). I feel like I'm breathing better already. I've been coughing up brown (tar colored) mucous more frequently, looking forward to that dissipating. I really feel like I'm commited to quitting now. I just look at the few people in my office who smoke that are in their 40 s & 50 s, they all look 10 to 20 years older than they really are, b/c it's prematurely aged them. They're all people who can finacially afford to smoke the least. I think to myself, I spend $200.00 a month on cigarettes, what could I do w/ an extra $2400.00 a year? And if I don't quit now, how much more money am I going to flush down the toilet o something that's killing me. I'm also try'n to remind myself of the time last summer when I was play'n w/ my nephews in the lake and I got winded from lifting them in the air, now I was a healthy 22 year old man at the time, w/out asthma, I shouldn't be out of breath from that kind of activity. My windedness was thanks to smok'n. I look at all these pictures of smokers lungs on the internet & I'm horrified! I shutter to think what mine look like, not to mention that I've increased my chances of getting numerous deadly diseases exponetially. I have had a love hate relationship w/ cigarettes for years, and I'm finally to the point that the hate has surpassed the love. I finally feel ready to quit, b/c I really think I'm over the emotional attatchment. And I feel like my chances are better b/c I've distanced myself from the bar scene, none of my closest friends or family members smoke anymore & I used to succomb to temptation around other smokers a lot in my previous attempts to quit. Any time I have the urge to light up in the future especially after I'm done w/ chantix, I'm googling smokers diseases & doing an image search, I think that'll be enough motivation to resist temptation from now on hopefully. I just need to keep reminding myself that I'm not a smoker and I dont want cigarettes controlling my life or jeapordizing my health anymore than they already have.

      March 3, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
  35. ChrisCintheD

    My dad has prostate cancer and has been smoking for about 50 years. He did stop drinking, but he would/could not stop smoking. He said dealing with the cancer was too stressful and he felt worse if he couldn't get a smoke. He did cut down to about 3 cigarettes a day...and we're still trying to get him to quit completely.

    January 24, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. srh

    Why aren't the pushers (LOBBYING cigarette corporations) paying for smokers healthcare. Why isn't cigarette tax paying for smokers healthcare. WHO is profiting from tobacco sale. Being an ex-smoker, I can relate to both sides. However, nothing will ever be resolved until society starts asking the right questions, and DEMANDING answers. Isn't the irony of anti-smokers who drive fossil fuel vehicles on asphalt smothered earth, similar to the smoking cancer patient?

    January 24, 2012 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. real

    Obama smokes Marlborough Reds.

    January 24, 2012 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. YOUR SO VAIN

    get a life

    January 25, 2012 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rayane

      There is no way to make someone do temoshing they don't want to do. Talk to him, explain your concerns, that due to his recent health problems you would be happier if he decided to quit smoking as you are concerned for his future health and you want him to take care of himself be careful that you don't come across and nagging or demanding though. If once you have spoken to him he decides that he doesn't want to quit, you can't make him, so instead of nagging him about it, let it go and maybe bring it up again in a few months if his health has suffered again.If he decides that he is willing to try to quit, be supportive, suggest he tries temoshing like the patches or gum and don't get mad with him if he still sneaks a cigarette now and again as he would end up resenting you for it and stop trying to give up smoking.Be patient and Good Luck

      March 3, 2012 at 21:42 | Report abuse |
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  42. NARCO

    FUNNY HOW SMOKERS SAY ANYTHING SO THEY CONTINUE TO SPREAD CANCER IN PUBLIC...

    February 2, 2012 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. oncology center

    Those with colon cancer who continued to smoke, tended to be uninsured, under- educated males. They also were heavy smokers before treatment.

    February 14, 2012 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sri

      Here in Norway it has been banned to smoke in pbiluc areas offices and so on for years, unless for special designated areas. But last summer the non-smoking law was extended to:# Smoking isn't allowed where food and/or drink are served.# Bars and restaurants won't be allowed to create special rooms for smokers.# Smoking will be allowed in outdoor cafes, as long as the smoke doesn't filter in to the cafe's indoor area.# Owners of eating and drinking establishments must enforce the smoking ban.# Smoking rooms will be allowed for employees, as long as similar rest areas for non-smokers have at least as high a standard.I know Sweden also got a similar law this month.Welcome to a smoke free environment here in Norway, Colin Andrc3a9

      March 5, 2012 at 22:24 | Report abuse |
  44. pandora687@aol.com

    Why hate on smokers alone then? What about everyone with cancer risk factors...like overweight sugar addicted meat eaters? I have stage IV breast cancer and no I didn't quit. What difference would it make at this point? I have always been thin, athletic, and have been vegetarian most of my life. But apparently I deserve this because I smoke? I'm sick of this one-sided blame game.

    March 16, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. pandora687@aol.com

    Also I have a graduate degree in Biology and an IQ of 148....so don't pigeon-hole us as idiots. Regrettably, I'm an addict but there really is no motivation to give it up at this point.

    March 16, 2012 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. oncology centers

    Radiotherapy is often given together with chemotherapy, and may be used with curative intent in patients with non-small-cell lung carcinoma who are not eligible for surgery. This form of high intensity radiotherapy is called radical radiotherapy. A refinement of this technique is continuous hyperfractionated accelerated radiotherapy (CHART), in which a high dose of radiotherapy is given in a short time period.

    April 2, 2012 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.