13 doctors weighed in:

Is it common among teenagers that smoke cigarettes to get lung cancer?

13 doctors weighed in
Ben Ferguson
Surgery
5 doctors agree

In brief: No.

It's not common for teenagers to get lung cancer, smoking or not.
A small fraction of a percent of lung cancer patients are diagnosed before the age of 35, and the largest fraction is in the 55-85 age group. Lifelong smoking that begins early on in teenage years or earlier does increase the chance of developing lung cancer later on, however.

In brief: No.

It's not common for teenagers to get lung cancer, smoking or not.
A small fraction of a percent of lung cancer patients are diagnosed before the age of 35, and the largest fraction is in the 55-85 age group. Lifelong smoking that begins early on in teenage years or earlier does increase the chance of developing lung cancer later on, however.
Ben Ferguson
Ben Ferguson
Answer assisted by Ben Ferguson, Medical Student
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Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Radiation Oncology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

But it is 40 to 50 years after they were teenagers and found out they could not stop when they wanted to!

In brief: Yes

But it is 40 to 50 years after they were teenagers and found out they could not stop when they wanted to!
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
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Dr. David Cooke
Surgery - Thoracic
2 doctors agree

In brief: Increased chances

Lung cancer in the young (< 40 years of age) is unusual, but not unheard of, and is most likely related to genetic predisposition rather than smoking exposure.
However 15% of smokers go on to develop lung cancer. And often, there is a 20 year lag. Therefore teenagers who smoke now, increase their chances of developing lung cancer when they are age 40 or older.

In brief: Increased chances

Lung cancer in the young (< 40 years of age) is unusual, but not unheard of, and is most likely related to genetic predisposition rather than smoking exposure.
However 15% of smokers go on to develop lung cancer. And often, there is a 20 year lag. Therefore teenagers who smoke now, increase their chances of developing lung cancer when they are age 40 or older.
Dr. David Cooke
Dr. David Cooke
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Dr. Douglas Arenberg
Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Critical Care
1 doctor agrees

In brief: No...but

Smoking teens grow into smoking adults, and are much more likely to get lung cancer than adults who quit as teens.
Once you pick up a cigarette, the chance of a lifelong struggle to quit goes way up. People that don't smoke before age 18 are 75x less likely to smoke as adults than those who smoke as teens. Tobacco execs know this, and try to get you before you turn 18, often succeeding.

In brief: No...but

Smoking teens grow into smoking adults, and are much more likely to get lung cancer than adults who quit as teens.
Once you pick up a cigarette, the chance of a lifelong struggle to quit goes way up. People that don't smoke before age 18 are 75x less likely to smoke as adults than those who smoke as teens. Tobacco execs know this, and try to get you before you turn 18, often succeeding.
Dr. Douglas Arenberg
Dr. Douglas Arenberg
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Dr. Cindy Juster
Board Certified, Pediatrics
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