Know the Risks

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Know the Risks


Lung Cancer Has Many Causes


Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. About 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths in the US are caused by smoking. Even smoking a few cigarettes a day or smoking occasionally increases the risk of lung cancer.* Cigar and pipe smoking also increase risk.

People who quit smoking reduce their risk of lung cancer and other cancers and improve their overall health. Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for dying from lung cancer drops by half.

For additional information, or to receive help with quitting, learn more.

*Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the tobacco smoke exhaled by a person who is smoking or is given off by a burning tobacco product, and is inhaled involuntarily or passively by someone who is not smoking. Secondhand smoke contains thousands of chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30%. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at a higher risk of health issues, including: sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, learning disabilities, behavioral problems and more severe asthma. Pets breathe secondhand smoke and, as with humans, exposure is known to cause cancer and illness. Like smoking, the more secondhand smoke you breathe, the more at risk you become to lung cancer. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure.*

*Breathe Easy Maine

Radon Gas

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in Maine. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas. High levels of radon gas naturally occur in Maine soil and get into the home through the ground and foundation. Radon can also be found in well water. If radon builds up within a home, it can increase health risks. Any house old or new can have radon. The only way to know if your house has higher levels of radon is to test for it.