Smoking and asbestos exposure is a deadly combination: how cigarettes increase your mesothelioma risk
Cigarettes are addictive, asbestos is not. All that was needed to protect people from asbestos-related lung cancer was a warning.
- Perry Weitz, co-founder of Weitz & Luxenberg
In 1950, the cigarette company Camel sold 98.2 billion cigarettes (Tobacco.org). That is nearly 40 cigarettes for every person on the planet at that time. When you were working in the mines, or as a contractor, and you had a smoke on your lunch break, it is not your fault. If your father was a smoker, and you picked up the habit from him, it is not your fault. If you came home from a difficult work day, and your whole body ached from labor, your evening cigarette was not your fault. Although, the dangers of cigarettes were known, the public did not respond to them until more recently. It was easy to forget about the risks and pick up a cigarette when all of your co-workers were. If your doctor informed you that cigarettes contributed to your mesothelioma diagnosis – it is not your fault. Prior to the late 1970’s, the general public was not aware that asbestos was dangerous, let alone that smoking increases your risk of developing an asbestos –related disease. Reports made as recent as 2006, detail critical findings linking asbestos exposure, smoking, and cancer. One report made by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, entitled, “Cigarette Smoking, Asbestos Exposure, and Your Health,” describes the lethal combination of smoking and asbestos by stating that if you are exposed to asbestos and smoke, your chances of getting lung cancer can increase by 84 times (CDC).
“Asbestos and cigarette smoke are powerfully synergistic in the causation of lung cancer. Nonsmoking asbestos workers have five times the background risk of lung cancer. Smokers who have had no exposure to asbestos have 10 times the background risk of developing lung cancer. But asbestos workers who also smoke have 55 times the background risk of lung cancer. This is the classic and best-studied example in the medical literature of a synergistic interaction between two proven human carcinogens,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan in 2005 while testifying before Congress about the health effects of smoking and asbestos exposure (Judiciary.senate.gov).
Weitz & Luxenberg wants you to know that we are not here to judge – we are here to help you. Asbestos companies are currently trying to debunk cases of mesothelioma by claiming that smoking was a major contributor. As a result, individuals like yourself are receiving less financial compensation, or sometimes no compensation at all. Weitz & Luxenberg knows how to counter this. We can prove how, when, and where asbestos made you ill. Mesothelioma is caused nearly exclusively by mesothelioma, and although smoking may increase the risk, it does not cause it.
For a free legal consultation on your mesothelioma case, contact Weitz & Luxenberg by filling out the form on this page.
The facts about smoking and mesothelioma
“Cigarette smoking weakens the lungs and decreases their ability to remove asbestos fibers. Cigarette smoke also irritates air passages, causing them to produce more mucus. These effects block the passage of air and further decrease the removal of asbestos fibers from the lungs,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Being exposed to asbestos alone increases your chance of developing an asbestos-related lung cancer, but smoking increasing that chance by 50 to 84 times.
Asbestos and cigarettes corporations: partners in crime
From 1952 until 1956, Kent brand cigarettes produced a filter that contained asbestos. It was called a Micronite filter and had a form of asbestos called crocidolite inside (Mindfully). Most asbestos companies were fully aware that asbestos caused fatal lung diseases such as mesothelioma, just as most cigarette companies knew that cigarettes caused cancer (NYTimes) (Multinationalmonitor.org). Still, a cigarette with an asbestos filter was produced and sold to the general public for many years without any warning that the combination had extremely high risks of cancer.
It was not until a public outcry and string of lawsuits in the late 1970’s that finally broke the news about asbestos-related diseases.
How Weitz & Luxenberg is can help you
In May of 2007, Weitz & Luxenberg secured a $37 million verdict for two individuals like yourself who had been exposed to asbestos by the Robert A. Keasbey Company. These workers happened to also be smokers, which the Robert A. Keasbey Company tried to use as a defense. Weitz & Luxenberg was able to refute this argument and direct the attention of the courts back to the fact that the negligence of the company caused the asbestos exposure, which in turn made these two individuals fatally ill.
We have been helping people just like you for over twenty years. We know the law when it comes to asbestos cases, and we have the resources to help you prove your case.
Contact us today by phone at (800) 476-6070 or by filling out the form on this page.