Asbestos Exposure and Tobacco Smoking
Smoking cigarettes is by far the leading risk factor for contracting lung cancer. Indeed, more than 80
percent of all lung cancers are thought to originate from smoking. The American
Cancer Society, for example, says 87 percent of lung cancers are directly
related to smoking cigarettes. Research shows that tobacco smokers are 11 times
more prone to suffer from lung cancer than non-smokers. That compares with a
typical asbestos worker,
who is seven times more likely to die of lung cancer than someone who never
worked with the deadly fiber.
But what are the chances of dying from lung cancer if you worked in dangerous
asbestos occupations and smoked cigarettes? Is there an increased risk of
lung cancer when an asbestos worker is also a cigarette smoker?
The answer is an emphatic Yes! Asbestos workers who also smoke cigarettes are
much more likely to die from lung cancer than someone who was exposed to only
one of these threats, according to Weitz & Luxenberg, the New York-based law
firm with the most national experience representing asbestos-related lung cancer
victims. Weitz & Luxenberg does not represent tobacco victims, but
specializes in asbestos-related lung cancer cases and has an impressive track
record in winning large settlements and
verdicts against employers who negligently exposed their workers to
The courts currently recognize that asbestos workers who also smoke are 55
times more likely to get lung cancer than non-asbestos workers who do not smoke.
And the likelihood of contracting lung cancer jumps to 100 times if an asbestos
worker has a history of smoking a pack or more a day!
Workers exposed to asbestos, whether they smoke or not, have the greatest
risk of developing "mesothelioma," a
cancer that originates in the outer surface of the lung and is considered the
deadliest form of asbestos-related lung cancer. Being diagnosed with
mesothelioma is a death sentence that usually occurs swiftly (within months) for
its victims. Approximately 2,500 people die of mesothelioma in the United States