According to The Guardian, carbon emissions such as those coming from cars, can cause the mutation of cells located in our lungs and turn them into cancerous ones.

The recent findings come as quite a few non-smoking people started developing the disease where they really shouldn't have based on daily habits.

Professor Charles Swanton of the Francis Crick Institute stated that "the risk of lung cancer from air pollution is lower than from smoking, but we have no control over what we all breathe."

"Globally, more people are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution than to toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, and these new data link the importance of addressing climate health to improving human health", he added.

While smoking is still considered to be the main cause of lung cancer deaths, in 2019, around 300.000 deaths around the world have been attributed to air pollution (PM 2.5 particles).

Still, researchers don't quite understand how patients who don't smoke get lung cancer in the first place, because by smoking, people directly mutate the DNA, which causes the disease to appear.

Yet, for non-smokers, the behavior is not the same, as Swanton explained: "clearly these patients are getting cancer without having mutations, so there’s got to be something else going on."

"Air pollution is associated with lung cancer but people have largely ignored it because the mechanisms behind it were unclear", he added.

Recent tests show that lung cells that carry dormant mutations can turn cancerous if exposed to PM 2.5 particles.

"It’s a wake-up call on the impact of pollution on human health. You cannot ignore climate health. If you want to address human health, you have to address climate health first", Swanton added.

Professor Allan Balmain, a cancer geneticist at the University of California, San Francisco, said that "both air pollution and cigarette smoke contain lots of promoting substances. This has been known since the early 1960s but has essentially been ignored, as everyone was focused on mutations."

"The tobacco companies are now saying that smokers should switch to vaping as this reduces exposure to mutagens, and therefore the cancer risk is going to go away."

"This is not true, as our cells get mutations anyway, and there is evidence that vaping can induce lung disease and cause inflammation similar to promoters", he added.