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Debunking the Smoking Myth for Asbestos Victims

A doctor explains a lung X-ray to a man in a hospital bed

Smokers with lung cancer can file asbestos claims.

Many smokers are hesitant about seeking compensation for their asbestos-related lung cancer, assuming that their history with tobacco prevents them from filing claims. That's wrong. Unfortunately, this misconception has kept an untold number of victims from recovering the compensation they rightfully deserve.

It has been well established that inhaled cigarette smoke and asbestos work together to increase the risk and severity of lung cancer. No matter how many packs you smoked or what else you've done in your life, the corporations that exposed you to asbestos are still liable for the incredible damage they've done to you and your family.

For over 30 years, the Ferrell Law Group has provided exceptional legal representation in lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestos lung cancer cases. We believe it is important for everyone to understand the connection between cigarette smoke and asbestos so that smokers and their families are encouraged to pursue the financial compensation they are entitled to under the law.

Asbestos and tobacco smoke synergy

Asbestos and tobacco smoke are toxic enough on their own. But when they're together, they become even more deadly. Here's how that synergistic relationship works:

  • Tiny asbestos fibers inhaled through the nose or mouth get trapped in the lungs, where they cause mutations in DNA. This leads to the growth of cancerous tumors or "nodules" in the lungs.
  • Particles in cigarette smoke increase the binding of asbestos fibers to the lung.
  • Meanwhile, asbestos fibers increase the uptake and metabolism of "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons" – a known cancer-causing agent in tobacco smoke. This helps to start tumors and keep them growing.
  • The body can remove some asbestos fibers over time, but continual exposure to asbestos and smoke traps toxic fibers as they build up in the lungs. Asbestos may also cause chronic inflammation, which can encourage lung tumors to metastasize.

How does asbestos exposure happen?

Most people with asbestos lung cancer were exposed to asbestos at work before the 1980s. Before then, asbestos was utilized for its heat resistance and other capabilities. Asbestos was heavily used in shipbuilding and manufacturing. It was used by the military in various capacities and added to many consumer products. There are dozens of industries that put workers at a high risk of asbestos exposure compared to other economic sectors. High-risk occupations include construction worker, miner, shipbuilder, manufacturing worker, mechanic, electrician, plumber, pipe fitter, and maintenance worker.

Many of these jobs would cause asbestos particles to form into clouds of dust around the workplace. Often, employees were not supplied with masks or any other form of respiratory protection, and they would end up breathing in these dust particles, unaware of the potential dangers.

How smoking affects lung cancer claims

People with occupational asbestos-related lung cancer frequently qualify for financial help from Asbestos Trust Funds. The trusts, or ATFs, compensate lung cancer and mesothelioma victims for their losses. They were established by asbestos companies that went bankrupt. However, getting the compensation an asbestos victim deserves is not easy.

Smokers exposed to asbestos may receive a lower amount of compensation from ATFs and other sources. Legal criteria have been established to determine the attribution of lung cancer to asbestos exposure, especially in cases involving smokers. These criteria consider factors like cumulative exposure, types of asbestos fibers encountered, and the duration of exposure. Because ATFs set their eligibility requirements and state laws around asbestos compensation may vary, it is best to consult a law firm with an extensive track record of successful asbestos claims nationwide.

Contact the Ferrell Law Group to review your options

The connection between being a smoker, asbestos exposure, and developing lung cancer is intricate and layered. Smoking does not eliminate eligibility for compensation in cases of asbestos-related lung cancer.

If you are over 62, worked in a high-risk industry, and have been diagnosed with lung cancer, we know how to help. Contact the Ferrell Law Group for a free consultation. We can answer your questions, explain your legal options, and help you decide what to do next. Our firm proudly serves clients nationwide.

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