How Smoking Damages The Lungs

By Toby Tunwase

Smoking possesses severe consequences for human health, many of which are lifelong. It is well known how extremely addictive the nicotine is in cigarettes, but alongside this addictive chemical, several other damaging substances are inhaled.

Tobacco smoke has over 65 known chemicals that cause cancer and damage every aspect of the body. However, this article will be focused primarily on the adverse effects of smoking on the lungs and airways. The result of smoking cigarettes on the lungs include conditions like colds and pneumonia, which are short-lived, and lifetime conditions like emphysema.

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Here are a couple of the ways smoking affects the lungs and airways:

Reduced airflow

Each cigarette smoked leads to inflammation, coughing, and irritation in the lungs. This is because smoking reduces oxygen flow to significant parts of the body, and it then damages the lungs. This decreases the blood vessels and air spaces that are present in the lungs.

Excess mucus and Infection

Another effect of smoking is that it aids the growth of mucus-producing cells in the lungs and airways. This results in thickening the amount of mucus present in the lungs and difficulty cleaning out the excess mucus by the lungs. This extra mucus leads to coughing and an increased chance of infection.

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Fewer cilia

The cilia are located in the lungs and help to keep the lungs clean. Smoking slows the movement of the cilia, and prolonged smoking reduces the cilia present in the lungs. This reduces the effectiveness of cleaning the lungs.