Tell someone that you want them to play Russian roulette and they will likely use a few expletives as they decline your invitation. Yet according to the national Survey on Drug Use and Health 730,000 people each year start cigarette smoking knowing full well that doing so drastically increases their chance of getting lung and other cancers and diseases. Perhaps they do not recognize just what the risk truly is.
With Russian roulette you have a 1 in 6 chance (16%) of killing yourself in the first round. For heavy smokers the probability of getting lung cancer is 27 times more likely than a nonsmoker. Even a light smoker has as much as 13 times greater risk. So which is the biggest gamble?
Before one decides to take this risk, they should think about what has already been proven. Cigarette smoke produces 4000 chemical compounds of which 43 have been identified as known toxins and carcinogens. Each and every cigarette smoked is introducing these to one’s lungs. Another staggering statistic is that the U.S. government has approved 599 additives that can be used.
The next thing to understand is that a carcinogen causes cell damage that leads to mutations in DNA. These unstable cells, called free radicals, go on to affect others. The body is capable of cleansing itself of some free radicals before they can result in cancer, but when it is overloaded as it is with constant smoking, it simply cannot keep up.
The best way to prevent lung cancer, as well as other cancers that the Surgeon General’s 2004 report linked to smoking (pancreas, stomach, kidney, acute myeloid leukemia and cervix), is to not start smoking. Once cells are damaged and progress to a point the body cannot cleanse, even quitting smoking will not help. Many a lung cancer patient has lamented, “But I quit 10 years ago!” not considering that they should not have begun in the first place.