The conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh revealed on his show on Monday that he has been diagnosed with “advanced lung cancer.”
Limbaugh, 69, said he was diagnosed with lung cancer after he complained to his doctor in January that he was experiencing shortness of breath. He added that he’s been receiving treatment since he was diagnosed with the condition and that he will be away from his show for some days while he is receiving treatment.
“It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today. I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this,” he said, according to CBS News. “The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”
Rush Limbaugh downplayed the health risks of smoking
Since Limbaugh shared his diagnosis, people have been speculating that his lung cancer might have been caused by years of smoking cigars.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Limbaugh once revealed that he started smoking cigarettes when he was a teenager, but quit when he was about 30 years old. He said he quit after suffering a “real bad case of bronchitis.” He later started smoking cigars.
Health experts say that smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking is linked to 80-90 percent of cases of lung cancer.
However, the controversial radio host is known to have downplayed the health risks of smoking on his show in the past.
Limbaugh: Secondhand smoke “will not kill you”
During a broadcast of his show in 2015, Limbaugh responded to a caller who challenged his claim that people should be thankful for the tax money that the government makes from the sale of tobacco products. During the conversation with the caller, Limbaugh argued that smokers were not harming other people’s health. He also denied claims that secondhand smoke was harmful to health.
He said that claims that people’s health can be damaged by secondhand smoke were a myth. Limbaugh indicated that a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that secondhand smoke is harmless. He also alleged that this particular WHO report was suppressed.
“There’s no even major sickness component associated with secondhand smoke,” Limbaugh said, according to NY Daily News. “It may irritate you, and you may not like it, but it will not make you sick, and it will not kill you.”
Limbaugh’s s argument contradicts the CDC website that says secondhand smoking is harmful to health and that it can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, respiratory infections, heart disease, and even lung cancer in non-smokers.
Limbaugh: “Everybody who smokes dies, but so does everyone who eats carrots”
After arguing that secondhand smoke was a myth, Limbaugh went on to claim that even “firsthand smoke” was not as serious as claimed and that society was unfairly vilifying smokers. He said that firsthand smoke takes “50 years to kill people, if it does.”
“Not everybody that smokes gets cancer. Now, it’s true that everybody who smokes dies, but so does everyone who eats carrots.”
Rush Limbaugh is best known for hosting The Rush Limbaugh Show which entered syndication in 1988, according to WSJ. The show is one of the most-listened-to radio talk shows in the country.