Lung Cancer and Misconceptions About Smoking-Vaping

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February 26, 2019

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How are smoking and vaping tied to lung cancer? Smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for lung cancer, and vaping devices let users inhale nicotine vapor and other toxic chemicals with yet-to-be-determined effects on a user’s health.

“Two of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to lung cancer have to do with how long someone has smoked and the type of tobacco used,” said Mark Dylewski, M.D., director of robotic thoracic surgery at Miami Cancer Institute. “The amount of nicotine-equivalent substances contained in the vaping devices so many young people are using is 25 to 50 times the amount contained in a pack of cigarettes. And although someone may have quit smoking traditional cigarettes years ago, the negative effects of the damage they can have does not just disappear.”

(Video: The Baptist Health News Team hears from Mark Dylewski, M.D., director of robotic thoracic surgery at Miami Cancer Institute, about the effects of smoking or vaping on a user’s health. Video by Alcyene Almeida Rodrigues.)

Other facts about smoking or vaping and lung cancer include:

  • Cigarette smoking is linked to about 80 percent to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in the United States. Nicotine is the drug in cigarettes that produces the addictive effect in smokers. It is one of thousands of chemicals found in tobacco products.
  • E-cigarettes, or “vaping” devices like the Juul, lets users inhale nicotine vapor without burning tobacco like traditional smokers do with cigarettes and cigars. However, most e-cigs contain nicotine – the addictive drug in regular cigarettes.
  • Lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S. for both men and women, and it remains the No. 1 cause of cancer death, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • In a rare national advisory in December, the nation’s top public health official — U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D. — warned Americans of the hazards of vaping devices, especially among the growing number of young users, including adolescents and high school students. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that teens who had vaped were more likely to try traditional cigarettes.

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