Don’t start smoking—and stop if you do
Obvious, yes. But since cigarette smoking causes 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in America, this point is essential to emphasize. The American Lung Association found that men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer while women who smoke are 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who don’t smoke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit. (Try one of these 23 ways to quit smoking for good.) Your life expectancy will increase. According to the National Cancer Institute, people 25 to 35 who quit live 10 years longer than people who don’t. People ages 35 to 44 can live about nine more years, and smokers who quit between ages 45 and 54 can expect six extra years. These numbers can vary depending on how long you smoked and how often. But if you smoked for any length of time, it’s essential to be on the lookout for these 7 silent signs of lung cancer, and talk to your doctor about what kind of screening is right for you.
Avoid secondhand smoke areas
Although secondhand smoke isn’t as bad as smoking the cigarette yourself, it can cause cancer if you inhale secondhand smoke frequently. “Secondhand smoke does put you at risk for all the risks for cigarettes,” says Kyle Hogarth, MD, associate professor of medicine, director of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the University of Chicago. (Here’s how to allergy-proof every room of your house.) The CDC estimates that people who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent, but quantifying the amount of smoke exposure is nearly impossible. Dr. Hogarth says factors such as your family history and the frequency and intensity of secondhand smoke can make a difference in whether you develop lung cancer or not.