New Delhi: Cigarette smoking has always been associated with diseases and ailments of the lungs. According to estimates, more than 90 per cent of those who smoke develop dangerous complications which include cancer. However, many factors also raise a person’s risk of developing fatal diseases even when they do not smoke.
According to John Hopkins Medicines, repeated exposure to certain industrial substances like arsenic, organic chemicals, radon, asbestos, air pollution, tuberculosis, and environmental tobacco smoke in nonsmokers increases a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.
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Doctors say Just living with a smoker increases your chance of developing lung cancer or heart disease from secondhand smoke by as much as 30 per cent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1, in the US, around 10-20 per cent of lung cancers happen each year in people who never smoked or smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. Researchers estimate that second-hand smoke contributes to about 7,300 of these lung cancers.
Risk-Factors for non-smokers
A few risk factors for non-smokers include:
CDC says that after smoking, radon exposure is usually the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that forms in rocks, soil, and water and gets into homes or buildings through cracks or holes. Breathing high radon levels over long periods can cause lung cancer.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon2 causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
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Doctors say if you do not smoke but have had a history of tobacco abuse in your family, there is a risk that you may develop another lung cancer.
According to studies3, in families with a history of lung cancer, there is no such thing as a safe cigarette or a safe level of exposure to smoking.
The use of beta-carotene has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer even in non-smokers.
According to the American Cancer Society4 , the median dosage of beta-carotene is prescribed at 0.3 mg (range, 0–17.2 mg) daily, but is significantly higher among multivitamins sold to improve visual health than among other multivitamins, leading to cancer.
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Many people develop lung cancer, even when they are not smoking, from the cancer-causing agents at their workplace, which include exposure to arsenic, uranium, asbestos, and diesel exhaust.
Studies5 say many non-smokers with lung cancer have signs of DNA damage from environmental carcinogens that drive cancer to evolve aggressively.
According to health experts, outdoor air pollution causes roughly 1 in 10 cases of lung cancer among non-smokers. There are a few different ways that particles in air pollution damage DNA in cells, causing irreparable harm.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.