INTRODUCTION It's a proven fact. Each year more Americans die from lung cancer and other smoking related diseases than they die from aids, drug abuse, car accidents and homicide, combined. Cigarette smoking is a danger to our life and health. It is the leading known cause of lung cancer. Each year more than 30, 000 people will die of lung cancer and 4 out of 5 of them will get it because of cigarette smoke. Studies have proven that there is no safe way to smoke.

Tobacco contains many dangerous cancer causing chemicals that affects the lungs of the smoker and the nonsmoker, so smoking just a little amount can increase your chances of getting lung cancer. The Surgeon General has said that 'smoking is the single most important cause of death in our society, and it is responsible for more than one out of every five deaths in the United States.' The purpose of this report is to inform and educate the reader about smoking and why it is considered the biggest cause of lung cancer. This subject is near and dear to me because my grandfather, who was once a heavy smoker, is now fighting this awful disease. The only way to protect yourself against this killer disease is to never start smoking or to stop smoking if you are a smoker. ADOLESCENTS AND SMOKING Adolescence is a time of development. It is a time of change, growth, exploration and evaluation of future values.

Many young people today become a victim to peer pressure. Smoking can be used as a key behavior needed for a person to become a member of a certain peer group. Young people want to be accepted and many times will do whatever they have to do to become part of crowd. They don't know that the earlier you start smoking, the greater your chances of developing lung cancer or some other lung related disease as you get older. WHAT CAUSES LUNG CANCER? Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. The American Lung Association says that cigarette smoke contains more than 4, 000 different chemicals.

Many of these chemicals have been proven to be cause cancer. Many of these chemicals also affect the nonsmoker who inhales 'secondhand's moke, which makes secondhand smoke another major cause of lung cancer. If you smoke, you are more likely to develop the disease. Men who smoke are 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer, while women who smoke are estimated to be 12 times more likely. The earlier you start smoking and the longer you smoke increases the danger. But if you stop smoking, the risk of cancer falls each year as abnormal cells are replaced by normal cells.

In ten years, the risks decreases to a level that is 30 to 50 percent of the risk for people who continue to smoke. That's why it's important for young people to never start smoking. WHAT SMOKING DOES TO YOUR LUNGS Cigarette smoke contains many dangerous chemicals. Carbon monoxide robs your blood of oxygen and may encourage build-up of deposits in your arteries. Nicotine is an addictive agent. Tar contains cancer causing chemicals which tend to build up in lung tissue.

The Healthy Lung The air we inhale enters the lungs through tubes called bronchi. These branch into the smaller bronchioles and finally into tiny air sacs, the alveoli. The average lung has more that 300 million of these air sacs, which provides a combined area of more than 750 square feet for oxygen to be absorbed into the bloodstream and carbon dioxide to be expelled. To some extent our breathing apparatus can can clean itself.

Mucus produced by some cells in the bronchi traps unfamiliar material, and the movement of the cilia, tiny hair-like structures on other cells, sweeps the mucus forward the throat, where it can be coughed out. The Smoke Damaged Lung About 90% of compounds inhaled in smoke remains in the lungs. The constant attack of cigarette smoking on the cells lining the bronchi can cause mucus-secreting cells to become enlarged and to increase the production of mucus. The cilia lining the air passage become worn away and are then unable to sweep foreign particles out of the throat. This causes what is known as 'smoker's cough.' If the smoker quits at the time of these early changes, the inner surface of the bronchi can return to normal. If the smoker continues smoking beyond this stage can cause the lung cells to form abnormal growth patterns that may eventually become lung cancer.

The Cancerous Lung Cancer is a group of more than 100 diseases caused by the abnormal growth of cells. Normally, the body cells divide and reproduce in a orderly manner, so that we grow, replace work-out tissue, and repair any injuries. Sometimes, however, cells divide without control and form masses known as tumors. Tumors may invade or destroy normal tissue, interfere with body functions, and require removal by surgery. Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.

Cancerous or malignant tumors do. This can spread fast or over a period of years. Lung cancers tend to spread more quickly that most other types of cancer. This is because the lungs are richly supplied by the blood and lymph systems which cells to other parts of the body SYMPTOMS OF LUNG CANCER Lung cancer hardly ever gives an early warning of its presence.

The earliest symptoms are likely to be so ordinary -- coughing or wheezing -- that they are often dismissed as minor irritants. This is especially true of the heavy smoker, who is used to having smoker's cough. In most cases by the time lung cancer is diagnosed, it is to late. HOW TO PREVENT LUNG CANCER The prevention of lung cancer is very important because it is a very difficult disease to detect early. By the time a diagnosis is made about 85% of lung cancer patients have disease that in longer confined to the lung. Only 13% of lung cancer patients live five or more years after diagnosis.

The survival rate is 46% for cases detected in a localized stage. Therefore, the outlook for many patients is not optimistic. Conclusion Studies have proven that cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. There is no safe way to smoke because all cigarette smoke contain many dangerous chemicals. People can get lung cancer at any age but it happens mostly in people over 50 years old who have smoked for a very long time. The younger you start smoking, the greater your chance of getting lung cancer.

Children today start smoking at ten years old or younger because they feel it's the "cool" thing to do, but they don't understand that they are putting their lives in deadly danger. Parents must set good example by not smoking and begin educating their kids about the dangers of smoking at an early age so they they can make a wise decision to just say "no" to cigarettes. The best way protection against getting lung cancer is to never start smoking. Don't be a statistic like my grandfather, stay away from cigarettes - it's a matter of life and death.

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