Cancer Prevention

Lung Cancer and Cigarette Alternatives

Copyright © 2022 Healing Cancer Naturally

Each year, the American Cancer Society provides updated cancer statistics on population-based occurrence and outcomes. For 2022, the organization projects 1,918,030 new cancer cases and 609,360 deaths in the US. Lung cancer is expected to bring about 350 deaths per day, and is expected to be the leading cause of cancer death.

One of the biggest risk factors for lung cancer is cigarette smoking. In fact, approximately 105,840 (or 81%) of the 130,180 lung cancer deaths projected for this year will be caused by cigarette smoking directly, with an additional 3,650 due to second-hand smoke. Today, we’ll briefly review how cigarettes cause lung cancer and take a look at common cigarette alternatives to see how these can be better for smokers struggling to quit completely:

The relationship between cigarettes and lung cancer

Cigarettes and other products like cigars or pipes create tobacco smoke, a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 70 known carcinogens like arsenic, benzene, and cadmium. These carcinogens don’t just affect the lungs, but also other organs such as the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, and more. The more you smoke, the more the risk for different diseases go up. Although lung cancer is considered to be a complex, multifactorial disease where genetics, environment, and lifestyle play a role, we also know that cigarette smoking can damage the DNA of lung cells — altering the way our lungs and immune systems work.

Exposure to the carcinogens lead to strands of DNA breaking apart, allowing cells to multiply excessively. In essence, the cancer cells replicate out of control and become immortal, preventing apoptosis or the normally programmed cell degeneration that brings in healthy new cells. These cancer cells then spread out of the lungs and inflame different areas of the body.

Another reason smoking is a health risk factor is because it decreases our lung capacity and sends higher levels of carbon monoxide into our bloodstream. This, in turn, decreases the amount of hemoglobin available to carry oxygen, reducing its availability in our organs and other bodily tissues.

Evaluating cigarette alternatives

It is very difficult to quit smoking for good. Some statistics suggest that up to two-thirds of cancer patients continue to smoke after their diagnosis and/or treatment. Unfortunately, smoking can increase the failure rate of treatments, worsen cancer symptoms, or increase the risk of recurrence or secondary cancer. For patients who cannot quit cold turkey, there are a number of alternatives available on the market, including:

Smoking cessation products

Smoking cessation products come in different forms, the most popular being patches, lozenges, and gum. These FDA-approved quitting tools deliver controlled doses of nicotine to help smokers manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while reducing nicotine intake slowly. Modern nicotine replacement therapy brands like Nicorette and NicoDerm are enhancing their product offerings by launching a website with tools and resources to help smokers at every stage of the quitting journey, with hopes that a more personalized support program can stop smoking for good.

Nicotine pouches

Nicotine pouches are small pouches made with nicotine, flavorings, and food-grade fillers. Users tuck these in between their gum and top lip to enjoy the flavor, minus the odor of smoking traditional cigarettes. Many users find cheap nicotine pouches great products to help them quit, as they are not only smoke-free, but also come in various nicotine strengths so they have more control over their nicotine use. By using nicotine pouches with lower nicotine levels, users can potentially stay on the path to quit nicotine for good.

E-cigarettes or vapes

E-cigarettes are available in different shapes and sizes, but these devices work by heating an e-liquid which turns into a vapor. Users then inhale this nicotine vapor into their lungs. Our current data on vaping suggests that the e-liquid and vaping fluids contain substances that can influence tumor formation, but it will take around 20 years until we can be certain of the effects of vapes on our bodies. Other studies note that e-cigarette vapor likely contains some cancer-causing chemicals, but in significantly lower amounts than in cigarette smoke.

If you are considering quitting smoking we hope that the above article proves useful. The earlier you stop the higher the chance that you will prevent lung cancer.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Sponsored Links

Related sections


Copyright © 2004-2023 and respective authors.
Unauthorized republishing of content is strictly forbidden. Each and every breach of copyright will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.
Use of this site signifies your agreement to the disclaimer.