Even occasional exposure to cigarette smoke can cause cancer

Even occasional exposure to cigarette smoke can cause cancer

Scientists have no doubt that even a single exposure to cigarette smoke can cause the formation of cancer cells in the human body. Children are particularly vulnerable.

React, do not be afraid to pay attention to smokers – out of concern for the health of your friends, loved ones, and your children. My freedom ends where the other person’s freedom begins.

Yes, in the book “Facts and myths of cancer genetics” appeals to the readers of Dr. Paula Dobosz, a geneticist specializing in genomic medicine, especially in cancer genetics.

Why is cigarette smoke so dangerous?

Carcinogenic substances, i.e. those causing cancer contained in cigarette smoke, harm everyone, regardless of age. And children can be more harmful, because their bodies are still developing. In addition, they have a lower body weight than adults, therefore the dose of toxic substances reaching them is much higher. In addition, children breathe much faster than adults – infants up to 40 times a minute!

Doctor Paula Dobosz emphasizes in her book that that sometimes it is enough to be, even once, in the vicinity of a smoking person to cause harmful mutations in the body’s cells.

“For children, exposure to cigarette smoke is especially dangerous. In adults, it is similar, because we already know that even a single exposure can cause cancerous transformation of our cells. Carcinogenic substances contained in cigarette smoke can be especially dangerous for children, because their bodies are still developing.– said doctor Dobosz in the pages of “Wprost”. Cancer does not have to occur immediately – it can become active only in the teenage years, and more often – in an adult. Similarly, in the case of all of us, cancers do not develop overnight, and can develop even many years or decades after exposure to a mutagenic agent.

Cigarette smoke scientists

In 2022, “BMC Public Health” published the results of research conducted on 30,000 Iranian children and adolescents – about 32 percent of minors are exposed to cigarette smoke there.

It follows from them that Passive minor smokers were more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, asthma, otitis media, lung diseases, including cancer. Exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) has been shown to increase mortality in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Children exposed to cigarette smoke are more likely than others to smoke cigarettes in the future.

Pregnant women should also be careful about exposure to cigarette smoke – scientists have shown that the child of such a woman may develop asthma, but also neurological and neurobehavioral disorders.

According to information from the Ministry of Health, many clinical and epidemiological studies have also been conducted in Poland, showing the health consequences of forced exposure of children to tobacco smoke. Its inhalation leads to ischemic heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.

What diseases does cigarette smoke cause?

Dr. Paula Dobosz leaves no doubt that “smoking kills and causes cancer, not only in the smoker, but in everyone around the smoker. Not only because of over a thousand different substances that are contained in cigarette smoke, but also those that settle on the surface of the cells that make up the alveoli, also penetrating inside the cells and leading to neoplastic transformation. This process was explained by scientists in the journal “Cancer Cell”. For a long time, they treated the cells with the components of cigarette smoke. They observed that after 10 days in the cells there was an increase in the amount of so-called ROS (reactive oxygen species), i.e. oxygen free radicals, causing significant DNA damage in these cells.

Cigarette smoke contains as many as 7,000 substances, many of which are carcinogenic, including 60 confirmed carcinogenic: cadmium, lead, arsenic, polonium. Smoke inhalation may be the result lung cancerbut also the esophagus, nasopharynx, stomach, liver, bladder and prostate. Cancers do not have to develop immediately, they can also be dormant and attack when our immune system is weaker.

The Ministry of Health informs that inhaling tobacco smoke from a cigarette smoked by another person in the same room is particularly dangerous to health, because side-stream tobacco smoke contains 5 to 15 times more carbon monoxide and 2 to 20 times more nicotine than inhaled smoke by smokers.


  • Dobosz Paula, Facts and myths of cancer genetics, Filia Publishing Group, Poznań 2023, pages 86, 87, 100

  • Hashemi-Aghdam, M.R., Shafiee, G., Ebrahimi, M. et al. Passive Smoking Trend and Associated Factors in Iranian Children and Adolescents: CASPIA Studies

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