You make certain decisions that increase your risk of cancer, while other cancer risks are outside of your control. For example, tanning might increase your risk of skin cancer, although you also have some ongoing risk from environmental exposure to the sun every time you leave your house.
When it comes to mesothelioma, a cancer of the organ linings, it is exposure to asbestos that creates the most noteworthy risks. Most people have asbestos exposure because of something in their environment or possibly their profession. However, sometimes those diagnosed with mesothelioma will blame themselves or question their right to seek compensation because of other decisions they made.
Does smoking cigarettes, an activity long associated with increased cancer risks, mean that you can’t seek compensation for a mesothelioma diagnosis after years of exposure at your place of work?
Smoking on its own does not cause mesothelioma
While tobacco use and smoking have a direct correlation with someone’s risk for lung cancer, throat cancer and other kinds of cancer, there is no medical evidence that shows that smoking on its own causes mesothelioma.
While smoking in conjunction with asbestos exposure means a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, tobacco use only exacerbates the risk caused by environmental exposure. It is not a primary causative factor and does not shift the blame from the company that caused environmental exposure to the worker now dealing with a terminal cancer.
Smokers who worked with asbestos and who now face a frightening mesothelioma diagnosis still have the right to seek compensation from their former employer despite their previous or even ongoing tobacco use. Even if the company has gone out of business, they could potentially seek compensation from a bankruptcy trust to cover the medical bills and other losses.