Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating. You might be stuck between wondering what the future will hold and thinking about the past. For example, since asbestos exposure is the only medically-established cause of mesothelioma, you may wonder where you could have come across asbestos.
Many people facing a diagnosis also might wonder if their history of smoking could affect them – and their chances of recovering compensation.
The short answer? No.
No, smoking in the past or present will not keep you from seeking or possibly obtaining compensation after a mesothelioma diagnosis. Put simply, smoking does not change:
- How dangerous asbestos is on its own
- The duty of manufacturers and suppliers to refrain from manufacturing or supplying unreasonably dangerous or defective products containing asbestos
- The failure of manufacturers and suppliers to warn consumers, end-product users, and others that asbestos causes disease and death in human beings
- Employers’ responsibilities to keep workplaces safe
- Employers’ liability for knowingly letting workers face exposure to asbestos
It is common knowledge that smoking is dangerous. It leads people to face a higher risk of developing lung cancer and a host of other adverse health conditions. What about the risk of mesothelioma? The National Cancer Institute states there is no indication that smoking increases the risk of mesothelioma, though it can affect your health – particularly the health of your lungs.
The history of asbestos and smoking
Even though smoking does not increase the risk of mesothelioma, smoking and asbestos exposure have one thing in common. According to the National Institutes of Health, tobacco use was at its highest in 1964. This overlaps the peak of asbestos use, which research indicates was in the 1960s and 1970s. By that significant overlap alone, it is highly likely that many people who faced asbestos exposure also smoked.
Smoking by itself can cause lung cancer, and asbestos exposure by itself can cause lung cancer. Put the two use or exposures together and the risk of developing lung cancer multiplies (which doctors refer to as a synergistic effect). But smoking by itself has nothing to do with causing mesothelioma
Even if you quit smoking years ago or still do, it may affect your overall health. However, it does not mean you cannot pursue a mesothelioma claim.