Smoking causes cancer, no matter how many years you’ve been doing it

How many years of smoking causes cancer?

Smoking causes cancer, no matter how many years you’ve been smoking, and your risk for developing cancer can increase each time you light up a cigarette.

“Many smokers try to figure out how many years of smoking cause cancer, but the truth is, there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ amount of cigarettes,” said Julie M. Schmied, APRN, nurse practitioner with Norton Prevention & Wellness. “The safest choice is to avoid smoking altogether or to stop smoking as soon as possible.”

Not only can smoking cause cancer, but it also can weaken your body as far as being able to fight it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poisonous chemicals in cigarette smoke can weaken the body’s immune system and damage or change DNA, which can lead to the formation of a tumor that can grow out of control.

Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in the United States. Although nonsmokers can develop lung cancer, the statistics speak for themselves: Nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes or exposure to secondhand smoke. Smokeless tobacco also causes cancer.

Smoking can cause more than lung cancer — it also can lead to cancer developing just about anywhere in the body, including the blood, colon, esophagus, kidney, mouth, throat, pancreas, liver, bladder, stomach, cervix and more.

Norton Prevention & Wellness

Register for one of our free smoking cessation classes to support you on the journey to a smoke-free lifestyle.

Learn more

Call (502) 629-1234, option 4

Benefits of quitting smoking

Within minutes after smoking your final cigarette, your body starts to undergo positive changes that can last for years.

  • Twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops.
  • Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • Two weeks to three months after quitting, your heart attack risk begins to drop. Your lung function begins to improve.
  • One to nine months after quitting, your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • One year after quitting, your added risk for coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • Five to 15 years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s.
  • Ten years after quitting, your risk of death from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease.
  • Fifteen years after quitting, your risk for coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.

Free classes to help you quit smoking

Smoking cessation classes and medication have helped millions of smokers around the nation kick the habit.

Norton Healthcare offers free classes to help you achieve a healthy, smoke-free lifestyle. Classes follow the American Lung Association Freedom From Smoking program, proven to be effective for millions of smokers. The classes are held online. To register for an upcoming class, call (502) 629-1234, option 4.

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