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The Synergistic Effect of Asbestos Exposure and Cigarette Smoking

Research has proven that exposure to asbestos is a cause of lung cancer in humans. Cigarette smoking is another known cause of lung cancer. However, the combination of asbestos exposure and smoking is far more likely to cause lung cancer than either factor by itself. This is known as the ‘synergistic effect of asbestos exposure and cigarette smoking.’

Generally, when a person is exposed to two different carcinogens, the respective risk factors are added together to determine the cumulative risk factor from being exposed to both carcinogens. However, for asbestos and smoking, these risk factors when combined actually have a multiplicative effect, so that the factors are multiplied to determine the overall risk factor from being exposed to both carcinogens.

As a result of this synergistic and multiplicative risk effect, it has been shown that smokers who were exposed to asbestos have a 50 to 90 times greater risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers who were not exposed to asbestos. This makes it that much more important for anybody who has been exposed to asbestos to quit smoking.

Besides lung cancer, the other most common cancer caused by asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. In contrast to lung cancer, research has shown that cigarette smoking has no relationship to a person’s risk of developing mesothelioma.

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“We would like to express our gratitude to you (Hunt Willis) for accepting our case. First of all, when I called this law firm, a very sweet and kind lady answered the telephone and gave me assurance by asking and going over the accident with me, while my husband was in the hospital. I felt assured I was doing the right thing for us. She was so helpful in so many ways. What a professional lady. Secondly, we are much pleased that you have settled this case with the insurance company to receive the proper amount to assist us in so many ways. My husband and I are very happy with you and the firm in handling our case. You made us have confidence in your professional and integrity along with your assistant Ms. Routh, when you both came to see us in our home, in which we saw your compassion and thoughtfulness at that time. We will never forget what you have done for us, and we thank the lord for directing me to contact this firm. I’m glad I did.” 

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