The Truth Behind Lung Cancer: a Reason to Quit Smoking


Raghav Pallapothu, Science Columnist.

Across the world, lung cancer affects adults and growing teens. But what exactly is lung cancer? Student Sriram Chakravadhanula explains that he believes that lung cancer is a “respiratory disease and [he] believes a tumor develops in your lungs.” Student Gavriie Singh also believes that “lung cancer is a respiratory illness and there is a deadly cause for it.” Gavriie is correct, but many are not familiar with the predominant cause of lung cancer. The leading cause of lung cancer is smoking, and although Sriram and Gavriie do not smoke or vape, they recognize that smoking is extremely dangerous. Lung cancer accounts for around 23% of all cancer deaths in the United States ( 

According to the Surgical Oncologist, Cancer Surgeon, Dr. Nirupama Anne MD, FACS, “not only cigarettes leave people at risk for lung cancer. Any tobacco product can cause lung cancer. Many carcinogenic materials which are part of cigarette smoke cause lung cancer. However, smoking is the #1 risk factor for lung cancer development in the United States”. 

It is medically and scientifically proven that tobacco causes lung cancer. According to Mayo Clinic, medical professionals think that tobacco causes lung cancer by seriously injuring the cells that cover the lungs. Inhaling the smoke from a cigarette containing many carcinogens causes an immediate change in lung tissue. At first, your body will be able to recognize this abnormality and may eradicate it. However, if you are continuing to be exposed to tobacco, the damage will cause a mutation, and cancer will develop over time.

Lung cancer wasn’t recognized as a legitimate disease until 1700 when an Italian anatomist named Giovanni Battista Morgagni described the correlation between tobacco and cancer in his book. Shortly after Morgagni published his book, many other scientists began to realize tobacco as a possible cause for cancer and started publishing these ideas in their scripts. After this scientific recognition, there were many anti-tobacco movements all around the globe. 

Though lung cancer primarily occurs in adults, addictions to nicotine and tobacco can start as a child. As stated by Dr. Anne, “Smoking during adolescent or young adulthood is directly related to addiction later in life, leading to chain-smokers. This leads to lung cancer and other medical conditions”. As a message to the high schoolers at VHSl: smoking can impact your lives in the future if you ever use tobacco-based products. Addictions can cause serious health problems and put you at serious risk of getting masses or tumors in your lungs. Smoking does not ever help you; it hurts you.