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. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    http://response-o-matic.com/thank_you.php?u=https://www.ocrv.pro/state-farm-rv-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county/

    June 19, 2021 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair Seal Beach

    You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs online. I most certainly will recommend this web site!

    https://redirect.camfrog.com/redirect/?url=http://ocrvandtrucks.com/rv-repair-shop-calabasas-highlands-california/

    June 19, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Social Media Marketing Specialist Near Me

    http://shopinbuffalo.com/redirect.aspx?url=affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. pharmacepticacom

    erectile vacuum pump costs https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Video Marketing Specialist

    I quite like reading a post that can make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

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

    June 20, 2021 at 03:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Digital Marketing Companies

    I like reading an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

    http://hawaii.gs/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.https://www.affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Content Marketing Experts

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your internet site.

    https://www.leadertoday.org/topframe2014.php?goto=http://www.affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Internet Marketing Experts

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

    June 20, 2021 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. SEO Marketing Specialist

    May I just say what a comfort to discover somebody who truly understands what they are talking about online. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must check this out and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you're not more popular since you surely possess the gift.

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

    June 20, 2021 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Internet Marketing Firm Near Me

    Itís hard to find experienced people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

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

    June 20, 2021 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Social Media Marketing Consultants Near Me

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

    June 20, 2021 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Digital Marketing Companies Near Me

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I truly thought you'd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

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

    June 20, 2021 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Gayla Pallanes

    Aw, this was a really good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a top notch articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.

    http://www.eridan.websrvcs.com/System/Login.asp?id=48747&Referer=http://www.ocrv.us

    June 20, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Shemika Bathke

    https://map.google.co.ls/url?q=https://socalforklifttraining.com

    June 20, 2021 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Freda Littau

    http://foro.infojardin.com/proxy.php?link=http://www.ocrvpaintandservice.com

    June 20, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Julian Dittman

    I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

    http://www.adminer.org/redirect/?url=http://internetmarketingnevada.com

    June 20, 2021 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Nancey Kinkel

    https://ichikawa.genki365.net/gnki02/common/redirect.php?url=http://www.commercialvanrepairshop.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Jeanett Ragin

    Good site you have got here.. Itís difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    http://lolinez.com/?www.bestshopnearme.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Tracee Connally

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!

    http://www.response-o-matic.com/thank_you.php?u=www.postfallshealthcoach.com

    June 20, 2021 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Eden Laland

    Very nice article. I definitely love this site. Keep it up!

    http://www.feedroll.com/rssviewer/feed2js.php?src=https://www.postfallshealth.com

    June 20, 2021 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. tractor supply near me

    http://www.etvoriya.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=nearmyspot.com

    June 20, 2021 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    https://baoviet.com.vn/Redirect.aspx?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. macy's near me

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is useful. Thank you for sharing!

    http://enhancedvoiceprocessing.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bestservicenearme.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. chevy dealers near me

    http://moskvavkredit.ru/scripts/redirect.php?idb=112&url=https://reviewnearme.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. appliance stores near me

    That is a very good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise infoÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!

    http://lovemylouboutins.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=nearmyspot.com

    June 21, 2021 at 05:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repair Garden Grove

    Hello there! This blog post could not be written much better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I will forward this information to him. Pretty sure he'll have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

    http://3h.kz/go.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 07:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Shop Near My Location

    http://equitot.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. eyeglasses near me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the site is also very good.

    http://www.players-retreat.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Camper Repairs Near Me

    I really like it whenever people come together and share ideas. Great site, keep it up!

    http://halie.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. outlets near me

    I'm excited to discover this website. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and I have you saved as a favorite to check out new things in your website.

    http://tessa.linksmt.it/ru/web/sea-conditions/news/-/asset_publisher/T4fjRYgeC90y/content/innovation-and-forecast-a-transatlantic-collaboration-at-35th-america-s-cup?redirect=http://bestlocalnearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Jerome Rhoden

    If I start a blog on Myspace, will it get listed in search engines like Google? If so, is there a way to keep them from being crawled?. . Thank you.

    https://twitter.com/katekdesigns

    June 21, 2021 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    http://davidkwinter.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 21, 2021 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair

    https://go.pnuna.com/go.php?url=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. furniture stores near me

    http://www.isaacsrelocationservice.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. mexican near me

    http://ihatecarmaxscion.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=masternearme.com

    June 21, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Sales And Repair Near Me

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I really believed you would probably have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.

    http://babystain.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrv.vip/

    June 21, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Camper Repair Shop Near Me

    http://blog.tieonline.com/feedtie/feed2js.php?src=http://ocrvcenter.com&num=3&au=y&date=y&utf=y&html=y

    June 21, 2021 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Services Near Me

    http://wademedicallegalconsulting.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.org

    June 21, 2021 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Specialty Van Repair Shop

    I blog quite often and I really appreciate your content. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

    http://www.frozeninstant.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetrepairshops.com

    June 21, 2021 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. financial advisor near me

    When I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be an easy method you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

    http://www.deepbluesailing.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=earme.a2hosted.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Ram High Top Van Repair Shop Near Me

    You are so awesome! I do not believe I've truly read something like this before. So good to find someone with unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

    http://gsm.tjtune.com/rd.php?url=https://campervanrepairshop.com

    June 21, 2021 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. bonkersforhonkers.com

    It's genuinely very difficult in this active life to listen newws oon TV,
    therefore I simply use web forr that purpose, and get the
    ottest news.

    my blog: bonkersforhonkers.com

    June 21, 2021 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Luxury Rv

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Kudos!

    http://rfeinstein.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetservicesocrv.com

    June 21, 2021 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. theater near me

    https://indashhome.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=earme.a2hosted.com

    June 21, 2021 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sprinter Repair Codes

    http://donayresphotography.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetservicesocrv.com

    June 22, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    http://bestofthedeals.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=rvmarketingexperts.com

    June 22, 2021 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repair Near My Location

    http://credothermalsoultions.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvmotorsports.biz

    June 22, 2021 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repair Garden Grove

    http://validator.webylon.info/check?uri=rvcollisionrepairpaintshop.com

    June 22, 2021 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. leadership memberships

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you ought to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but generally people don't talk about such subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

    http://www.prakrity.net/cgi-bin/ewf/prakrity_com/scripts/ewf_page_loader_prakrity_com.cgi?page=external&location=https://realchrisburns.com

    June 22, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Mercedes Camper Van Repair

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you need to publish more on this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but generally folks don't speak about such subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!

    http://labelexpress.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=campervanrepairshop.com

    June 22, 2021 at 04:38 | 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 Kuikseelt


 

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.