Does Smoking cause Skin Cancer?

Smoking cause Skin CancerSignificance of skin cancer

One third of all new cancers are skin cancers. In the United States , a new case of skin cancer is discovered every minute. More than 900,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. This article discuss about whether smoking cause skin cancer or not.

There are 3 common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma; and melanoma.

Basal cell skin cancer

It is one of the most common types of cancer. It is a tumor, an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, on the skin. It usually occurs in middle-aged and elderly people, especially those who are fair-skinned. It is more common in occupations with prolonged sun exposure. Basal cell carcinoma develops slowly and causes a lump or a small, painless, smooth-edged ulcer. It most often occurs on the face, head, and neck.

In addition, pipe and cigar smoking can cause this type of cancer on the lip. It is common on the lower lip.

How does it occur?

Genetic (hereditary) factors play a part in the tendency to develop skin cancer. Some diseases and some chemicals, such as petroleum products, increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Also, if you have another type of cancer, the cancer may spread to your skin.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of skin cancer may include:

  • sores or changes in the skin that do not heal
  • a craterlike lesion (ulcer) on the skin that may not hurt
  • change in color, shape, or thickness of a mole
  • bleeding
  • itching
  • pain.

How can I help prevent skin cancer?

  • Avoid unnecessary and prolonged sun exposure.
  • Use a sunscreen with a skin protection factor higher than 15
  • Avoid exposure to sun between the hours of 10 am and 3 p.m.
  • Wear long-sleeved outdoor clothing and a hat with a brim in the sun.
  • Protect your children from excess exposure to sunlight.
  • Don’t ignore any suspicious skin growth, particularly one that changes in shape, color, or pigmentation.
  • Be aware of any changes in your skin, which you can’t explain, and which last for more than 30 days.

How to detect melanoma?

One of the best ways to detect melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is to know your moles. Melanoma often begins with a change in the size, height, shape, color, texture, or sensation of a mole. Other skin cancers and pre-cancers develop gradually and do not develop in moles.

Smoking cause Skin cancer

  • With every puff on a cigarette, the smoker invites some 3,000-plus chemicals into the body. Many are proven to be carcinogenic.
  • Nicotine and carbon monoxide combine, resulting in peripheral vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels) and oxygen depletion.
  • Nicotine has a direct affect on the endothelial cells and the micro-vascular cells, and when they are impaired, the result can be atherosclerosis (disease of the arteries) and cancer.
  • Every time a person inhales cigarette smoke, a chain reaction takes place: blood vessels constrict, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and oxygen in the blood is partially replaced with carbon monoxide.Carbon monoxide is the carcinogen that passes through the lungs and into the blood, reducing its oxygen content. Carbon monoxide also robs the body of oxygen for several hours. Smoking for 10 minutes decreases oxygen in the tissues for almost one hour.

Loss of Collagen

Collagen is the backbone of the dermis and plumps it up. The epidermis, or the top layer, and the deeper dermis, which contains the collagen and the blood vessels, become naturally thinner with aging. This occurs because the sun and smoking cause not only a loss of collagen but also a decrease in the components that create it, as well as a breakdown in the elastic fibers of the skin.


Almost all skin cancers are curable if detected and treated before they invade through the bottom layers of the skin and spread to other tissues.