It is now widely-accepted that smoking is harmful to your health, and that cigarettes are a cynical product designed to deliver just enough nicotine to the user to keep them addicted. One of the most severe consequences of using cigarettes in the long-term is lung cancer – the most common cancer diagnosed among both men and women. In 90% of cases, the lung cancer is believed to be caused by cigarettes. The habit can also affect your lungs in other ways. Remember that your lungs are at the center of the respiratory system, and are vital to daily activity. Indeed, many smokers find that their lungs are so affected that their lives are severely limited, all as a result of cigarettes. People may find themselves grasping for breath and tires easily because their lungs are affected by their smoking habits.
It is clear that the long-term adoption of this unhealthy and unwise activity has tragic consequences. Yet there is still a great deal of ignorance regarding the obvious harmful effects of cigarettes and how their use impacts on your lungs.
The main lung diseases associated with smoking are lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma. Obviously, smokers are affected by these illnesses in many different ways, but what they all have in common is the link with the effect of cigarette usage on the lungs. When you smoke, tar is deposited in the lining of the lungs. This prevents your lungs from expanding or contracting when you breathe in or out. Emphysema, for instance, is when an expanded lung cannot easily contract. The build-up of toxins also affects the respiratory efficiency of the lungs, causing a decrease in the oxygen supply to the heart, which in turn causes heart disease. Lung cancer occurs due to the continued, long-term deposit of carcinogenic toxins in the lungs, which eventually results in harmful cell degeneration, causing the body to form a protective tumor, which in turn induces to cancer.
Although we refer to the long-term effects of smoking in this article, please bear in mind that the damage caused by smoking really starts when you smoke your first cigarette. The real answer to avoiding lung damage is just to stop puffing that cigarette! If you have been smoking continuously for six months or more, then you are at a heightened risk of lung disease, and you should stop, but really, no matter how long you have been smoking, you are strongly-advised to stop now.
Tips and comments
Sadly many fail to heed the warnings, and certainly recent years have seen a resurgence of smokers, especially among the young, who seem to rebel against the prominent and widely-accepted healthcare messages. Thankfully, governments are now starting to take tougher action, banning smoking in public places and stepping up the public anti-smoking message. It is unlikely that smokers will disappear from the population entirely, but thanks to greater public awareness of the risks to health – especially awareness of lung diseases – together with firm government action, smokers are likely to find themselves increasingly marginalized in the future, and that can only be good for public health.