Lung cancer is one of the most well known forms of cancer caused due to smoking. More than 80 percent of lung cancer patients are smokers.
Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that interfere with the manner in which the body filters the air and cleans out the lungs. This smoke leads to irritation of the lungs, causing mucus overproduction.
Cilia are tiny hair like structure that line the respiratory airways and clear out the dust and dirt. The cigarette smoke paralyzes these and leads to the accumulation of mucus and toxic substances, leading to congestion in the lungs.
Extra mucus means smokers are likely to face chronic bronchitis and a perpetual smoker’s cough too. As can be seen, the process of inhaling cigarette smoke can damage the lungs considerably.
Cigarette Smoke: From Smoker’s Cough to Asthma
Cigarette smoke involves a gamut of lung diseases from the persistent smoker’s cough to the inflammation of air passages in the lungs leading to asthma.
One of the most well known triggers of asthma, cigarette smoke can exacerbate an asthma attack as well. Long term exposure to cigarette smoke toxins completely decimates the normal structure of the lungs.
Elastic walls of the small airways within the lung break down.
This lowers the amount of lung tissue available for transferring oxygen from the air to the blood. This is a lung condition called emphysema.
Long term smokers are likely to develop this disease, depending on the amount of cigarettes smoked ad the years the individual smokes cigarettes.
Damage to the lungs is irrevocable. Emphysema can only be countered by not smoking.
Burning tobacco produces more than 7,000 chemicals, and studies show that toxins like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar can harm smokers.
Smoking impacts the lungs in myriad ways from the smoker’s cough to a medical condition such as lung cancer or emphysema.
How Smoking Impacts the Lungs
Smoking cigarettes cause a lot of changes in airways and lungs. While some changes are sudden, lasting a short time and going away, others are long term.
Some changes happen slowly and can last for the rest of your existence. What happens when the airways and lungs are exposed to cigarette smoke?
Cells that produce mucus in lungs and airways rise in size and variety. As the amount of mucus is thicker, and rises, the cleaning system of the lungs does not work well.
Broom like hair structures called cilia in the airways of the lungs are also paralyzed when exposed to cigarette smoke.
Smoking also lowers the number of cilia. So cleaning the lungs becomes very difficult. As the lungs and airways have mucus, it is not cleaned out and instead clogs the airways and causes a cough.
Aggregated mucus can also get infected more easily. Lung and airways undergo irritation and inflammation.
These also become narrow, preventing air from reaching the lungs. Irritation and coughing are the result.
It is normal for lungs to age as time advances. But smoking triggers premature aging, destroying the lungs and decreasing the number of air spaces and blood vessels, diminishing the amount of oxygen carried to the body.
Cigarette smoke also harms the natural defenses of the lungs against infection. Cigarette smoke is also a major cause of Chronic Obstructive pulmonary disease.
More than 80% of the COPD deaths result from cigarette smoke impacting the lungs. When you smoke, you raise the chances of developing COPD tenfold. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Smoking cigarettes is one of the biggest causes of death. The truth is it is avoidable if you kick this lethal habit.
Cigarette smoke impacts every part of your lungs and there’s no safe way to use tobacco. Smokeless tobacco ingestion is just as harmful.
When it comes to your lungs, tobacco is bad news. So, give smoking a wide berth if you want to live a long, happy and healthy life.