home
RSS
April 20th, 2011
08:45 AM ET

How quickly does lung cancer develop for smokers?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

I started smoking socially in high school and still do. How long would it take for someone like me develop lung cancer?

Asked by Tom of Cleveland

Expert Answer

Dear Tom,

There have been several questions about smoking recently. I thought your question really important. In answer to it, there is no such thing as a safe amount of cigarette smoking. I urge you to quit. Studies show that it is far easier for a light smoker to quit than someone who smokes a pack and a half or more per day.

Also keep in mind there is no such thing as a safer cigarette. The risk of lung cancer does increase with both the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years a person has smoked. A 35-year-old male who smokes fewer than 25 cigarettes per day is estimated to have a 9% lifetime chance of dying of lung cancer, whereas 25 cigarettes per day or more gives him an 18% lifetime chance of dying of lung cancer. There are some estimates that lifetime risk of lung cancer in a very heavy smoker is about 30% overall, whereas it is 1% or less in nonsmokers. This translates into about a third of very heavy smokers developing lung cancer. Also, 15 to 20 of every 100 patients who have lung cancer are lifelong nonsmokers. Some get it because of secondhand smoke and some get it for unknown reasons.

People who start smoking at younger ages are at higher risk later in life. Lung cancer rates begin increasing in the mid to late 40s and peak in the late 70s. Many people think low tar or filtered cigarettes are safer. The truth is most people will compensate for these cigarettes by inhaling deeper and/or smoking more cigarettes in order to satisfy their need for nicotine.

While you ask about lung cancer, it is important to remember that occasional cigarette use can increase risk of cardiovascular disease dramatically. This is very pertinent, because cigarette smoking kills more people from cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease) than all cancers combined. It is a common observation that a town that makes smoking in public illegal lowers it heart attack rate within six months. This is primarily because the decrease in secondhand smoke exposure decreases the number of heart attacks in nonsmokers. Just think about the dose of smoke to even a casual smoker over six months compared to a nonsmoker exposed to occasional secondhand smoke.

Cigarette smoking is linked to a number of diseases. Lung cancer is most famously associated, but tobacco smoking causes cancers of the head and neck (mouth, throat, sinuses), esophagus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, bladder, uterine cervix and even certain types of leukemia. Fourteen different cancers in all are caused by smoking. Smoking also causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as bronchitis and emphysema. It worsens asthma. Smoking is linked to high blood pressure, ulcers, osteoporosis, diabetes and reproductive disorders such as infertility, miscarriage and premature menopause.

There are significant benefits to smoking cessation. Most tobacco-related disease can be prevented if one stops smoking by age 40. Even for older people and for those with tobacco-related disease, there is significant benefit to smoking cessation. Short-term, cessation causes cravings, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating and restlessness. Some may have a worsening of the smoker's cough. Long term, many complain of weight gain and increased depression.

Someone who is thinking of quitting should seek counseling from a physician or other experienced health care professional. Nicotine gum, nicotine patches and some other medications can be very helpful with smoking cessation. Counseling through telephone quit lines and internet support groups can also be helpful.


soundoff (1,945 Responses)
  1. lbCtUZonhv

    buy psychology essay public service announcement essay ww2 timeline homework help average time spent doing homework high school

    May 8, 2021 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Windows California

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service? Many thanks!

    https://dausel.co/bGxAj4

    May 8, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Content Marketing Firms

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, however I genuinely believed you'd have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

    https://www.edeleanu.co/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Mechanics Los Angeles

    http://adfoc.us/62936178788433

    May 9, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Local Marketing Firm

    I really like looking through an article that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

    https://www.balder.messe.de/werbung/www/delivery/ck.php?ct=1&oaparams=2__bannerid=1512__zoneid=697__cb=18dc65fbad__oadest=https://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 03:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Bedroom Los Angeles

    https://wi.cr/ioWkvTcc

    May 9, 2021 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Leak Near Me

    https://skiplink.org/Tx3Q01pP

    May 9, 2021 at 04:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Local Marketing Help

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't disappoint me just as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, nonetheless I actually believed you would have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

    http://anifre.com/out.html?go=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 05:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Social Media Marketing Jobs Near Me

    https://www.hammerinternational.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Social Media Marketing Center

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this matter here on your web site.

    http://joup.co/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=http://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Driver Seats California

    https://go.menjelajahi.com/R5IsJ4mK

    May 9, 2021 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Content Marketing Business

    https://oleolewines.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Lighting Riverside

    https://b.link/ug2dkc

    May 9, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. BbshMile

    generic viagra 100mg https://loxviagra.com/ viagra generic name

    May 9, 2021 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Content Marketing Market

    http://www.t.nativendo.de/cds/tracking/event?cid=7rn5s&cti=c54ow&tid=kqo&t5B05D=ad2Fclick&pxl=1&aid=2wa2o&redir=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com&url=http://www.t-online.de/

    May 9, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Content Marketing California

    http://www.seniormate.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Local Marketing Near Me

    https://www.thetoolkitproject.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. AnooEncox

    puscifer v is for viagra lyrics https://llviagra.com/ viagra 50mg stories

    May 9, 2021 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Internet Marketing Experts

    http://www.invictusgames.in.ua/redirect?go=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Countertops Near Me

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your site.

    http://www.4k-star.jp/cgi-bin/acc/acc.cgi?REDIRECT=http://ocrvcenter.com

    May 9, 2021 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. BbshMile

    woman in viagra commercial http://loxviagra.com/ what happens if a female takes viagra

    May 9, 2021 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Digital Marketing Specialist

    https://www.osmondrealestate.com/jill/frame.i?https://www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Social Media Marketing Company

    Great info. Lucky me I recently found your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!

    https://www.riobg.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RebfZisse

    cialis canada pharmacy http://rcialisgl.com/ – generic cialis lowest prices list cialis

    May 10, 2021 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Local Marketing Programs

    https://www.smallpixgalleries.com/cgi-bin/out.cgi?u=https://affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Content Marketing Reviews

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.

    http://www.secrets-hotels.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Digital Marketing Associations

    I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I found this during my search for something relating to this.

    http://blog-parts.wmag.net/okitegami/redirect.php?u=http://affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Internet Marketing Company Near Me

    There's definately a lot to know about this subject. I like all the points you've made.

    http://www.edj.difelene.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Internet Marketing Experts Near Me

    http://www.speckandaanestad.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Video Marketing Specialist

    https://vrn.spcity-friends.ru/go?to=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Internet Marketing Pros

    https://www.61b.usajets.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. FmrfEncox

    cialis generic vs brand http://cialisee.com/ 36 hour cialis price

    May 10, 2021 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Social Media Marketing Agency Near Me

    https://dubaisportscityacademies.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Video Marketing Experts

    There's certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I like all the points you made.

    http://lissi-crypto.ru/redir.php?_link=http://affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Local Marketing Agencies Near Me

    https://hcrc.4fan.cz/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Digital Marketing Company

    http://alacrastore.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Content Marketing Mentor

    http://www.arvid.nu/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Internet Marketing Firm

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the information!

    https://gabrielle-gray.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Video Marketing Association

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for providing these details.

    http://www.farmbook.kr/modules/banner_click.php?url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Content Marketing Irvine

    https://proofdc.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Seo Marketing Deal

    That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    https://pamsweet.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Video Marketing Programs

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't fail me just as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I truly believed you'd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://www.traderbyauto.com/util/urlclick.aspx?obj=DIListing&id=56341&url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Local Marketing Association

    http://metwestfunds.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Content Marketing Specialist

    Everyone loves it when people get together and share ideas. Great site, continue the good work!

    https://www.mychabad.org/tools/login/transfer.asp?page=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 02:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Content Marketing Master

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal site now 😉

    https://www.etailfurniture.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Social Media Marketing Experts

    Hi there! This article could not be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I'll send this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

    http://www.todomovil.net/links/visitas.asp?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 03:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Internet Marketing Service Near Me

    https://www.paper.li/SharonLaMothe/1411841847?read=https://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 04:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Digital Marketing Consultants

    http://www.sestrenka.ru/redir.php?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Digital Marketing California

    http://www.biggaynetwork.com/cgi-bin/sites/out.cgi?id=gaycun&url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. GtnbCrulk

    how to take viagra with water or milk https://jokviagra.com/ – viagra ads how much does viagra cost at walgreens

    May 11, 2021 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Leave a Reply to Social Media Marketing Center


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

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.