Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, many of which are harmful and around 70 of which are known to cause cancer.
When tobacco smoke is inhaled, these chemicals enter our lungs and can spread to the rest of our body.
The chemicals can damage our DNA and other genetic material within our cells, which can result in mutations and abnormal cellular behavior, potentially leading to cancer.
Does Nicotine Cause Cancer?
Nicotine makes you feel good by releasing a chemical in your body called dopamine. If you keep using nicotine, your body gets used to it and starts to crave it.
This is why people find it hard to stop using tobacco products. But scientists are finding out that nicotine can do more than just get you hooked.
Some recent research suggests that it can help cancer grow:
- Small amounts of nicotine can make cells grow faster. Too much nicotine can harm cells.
- Nicotine can start a process that helps cancer cells grow. This is one of the first steps towards getting cancer.
- Nicotine can lower the power of a natural body guard against cancer called CHK2.
- Nicotine can make new cells grow too fast. This has been seen in cancer cells in the breast, colon, and lung.
- Nicotine can make cancer treatments less effective.
How does Tobacco cause Lung Cancer?
People have known for a long time that tobacco, especially when smoked, can cause cancer, mainly lung cancer. But it took a while to figure out how exactly this happens.
Now, we know that tobacco smoke has at least 70 chemicals that can cause cancer. When you’re around these chemicals for a long time, it can cause changes in your cells that lead to cancer.
When you smoke a cigarette, it leaves behind a sticky stuff called tar in your lungs. This is because the chemicals in the cigarette don’t all burn away.
The chemicals in this tar can harm your lungs. This harm can lead to tumors and make it hard for your lungs to breathe in and out like they should.
What’s my Cancer Risk from Smoking?
Smoking can cause 15 different types of cancer. It can also cause other health problems, like heart disease and lung diseases.
If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your health is to stop it completely.
Both how much you smoke and how long you’ve been smoking affect your chances of getting cancer.
If you smoke a lot of cigarettes each day, you have a higher chance of getting cancer. So, if you smoke less each day, that can help.
But how many years you’ve been smoking is even more important for your chances of getting cancer. So, it’s very important to make a plan to stop smoking altogether.
The sooner you stop smoking, the less chance you have of getting cancer. Anybody who smokes will be healthier if they stop, and it’s never too late, even if you’ve been smoking for many years.
You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or go to a free local service that helps people stop smoking.
What types of Cancer does Smoking Cause?
Smoking is clearly linked to cancer, and it can cause at least 15 different types. This includes lung and bowel cancer, which are very common.
Here are the types of cancer smoking can cause:
- nose and sinus
- upper throat
- voice box
- food pipe
- some types of blood cancer
Also, some research is suggesting that smoking might cause breast cancer too. But we need more high-quality studies to know this for sure.
The Health Risks of Light, Occasional, and Social Smoking
Even if you’re a ‘light’, ‘occasional’, or ‘social smoker’, your chances of getting cancer are still higher.
Smoking less than one cigarette a day can still increase your chances of dying early, compared to those who have never smoked. Studies show that even people who smoke less than 10 cigarettes a day have a higher risk of getting cancer and other diseases caused by smoking.
Cutting down on how many cigarettes you smoke each day is a good start. But remember, there’s no such thing as a safe amount of smoking.
The best thing you can do for your health is to completely quit smoking, and it’s never too late to do this.
In a Nutshell
While nicotine itself is not classified as a carcinogen and is more associated with addiction to tobacco, some research suggests it may promote the growth of existing tumors by stimulating the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors (a process called angiogenesis), inhibiting apoptosis (programmed cell death), and promoting cancer cell proliferation and migration (metastasis).
However, most of the cancer-causing effects of smoking can be attributed to other chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
Take Care of Yourself!