Smoking seriously increases the danger of developing an exacting type of skin cancer, researchers have found.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is already one of the more frequent skin cancers, generally developing later in life.
Though more destructive than some other skin cancers, it is very treatable, often by surgery, with 95% of cases not recurring if removed on time.
The major reason for squamous cell carcinoma is thought to be prolonged exposure to strong sunlight.
Recent studies had suggested a connection to smoking, but this study suggests a far bigger involvement than thought.
Dr. Jan Bavinck, from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, looked at the number of smokers amongst a sample of 580 people diagnosed with a variety of different types of skin cancer.
He found out that existing smokers were 3.3 times more likely to enlarge squamous cell carcinoma, with an exact connection between the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the chances of increasing the disease.
Those people who only smoked between one and 10 cigarettes a day were 2.4 times more apt, while those smoking 11-20 were three times more likely.
Those smoking 21 or more were four times more likely to get the illness.
Dr. Bavinck mentioned that everybody understands that sun exposure is a danger for skin cancer, but almost no one knows that smoking is also an imperative, and independent, risk issue. Smoking is now related to a growing number of cancers beyond lung cancer, such as bladder, head and neck, cervical and skin cancers.
The study team conceded they did not know accurately why smoking might have this consequence but theorized that it caused injury to DNA in skin tissue, producing irregular cell enlargement.