Medical experts understand cancer better now than they did a few decades ago. People know that certain behaviors increase their risk of developing specific kinds of cancer. Lung cancer, for example, has a strong correlation with smoking.

Smokers face social stigma from those who judge tobacco use. They may also worry about whether their personal habits will affect their legal rights. For example, if a worker who has handled asbestos on the job for years develops lung cancer, they may think that they can’t claim asbestos compensation because they smoked.

Does cigarette use prevent claims by those exposed to asbestos in the workplace who later develop lung cancer? 

Smoking will complicate but not necessarily end your claim

Just as there is a direct correlation between smoking and your cancer risk, so too is there a connection between asbestos exposure and cancer risk. Smokers are more likely than the average person to develop lung cancer, as are those who work with asbestos. People who do both have exceptionally high risk.

Compared with those who didn’t have workplace asbestos exposure or smoke, their risk of lung cancer is 50 times higher.  There is adequate medical research to help demonstrate that smoking alone wasn’t the only factor that increased your risk.

You may be able to connect with compensation because of your asbestos exposure. Especially when you factor in how you may have started smoking or handled asbestos long before the risk factors for either of those activities were well-known, your smoking will not prevent you from making a claim. Learning more about what may impact your right to an asbestos-related claim can help you explore all the options for funding your treatment and supporting your family.