Smoking And Lung Health
Smoking has a devastatingly adverse impact upon lung health in both smokers and non-smokers via secondhand smoke. There is just no way getting around the fact that smoking causes lung diseases such as: chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic airway obstruction – all forms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Smoking causes lung cancer as well. Smoking can, also, make a person more susceptible to tuberculosis.
Cigarette smoke from a normal cigarette (even “Light” types) contains over 400 chemical compounds. Sixty (60) of those chemical compounds are either suspected, or known to cause cancer. There are at least 19 known carcinogens in cigarette smoke that have been proven to cause cancer. Smoking damages the airways and small air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs.
COPD is the fourth (4th) leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Annually, over 120,000 deaths from COPD are reported. At least eighty-five (85) to ninety (90) percent of the deaths are directly related to smoking. Somewhere between sixteen (16) and twenty-four (24) million people are suffering from COPD. COPD is a progressive disease that is aggravated by smoking. Symptoms include: shortness of breath (dyspnea), wheezing, and mucus production with coughing. These symptoms can turn into chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema.
Approximately ninety (90) percent of all lung cancer is caused by smoking. The annual death toll is 160,000. That figure makes lung cancer the third (3rd) leading cause of preventable death in the United States. An alarming fact to also be considered is out of the 160,000 deaths; about 3,400 of those deaths are among non-smoking adults.
There is not much current debate that secondhand smoke is damaging to non-smoking adults as well as teens and children. Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke experience the increased risk of having low birth weight babies. Infant children seem to be the hardest hit group with annual lung infections totaling somewhere between 50,000 and 300,000 cases. It has been estimated that between 200,000 and 1 million children suffer from asthma. Secondhand smoke definitely increases both the numbers and severity of asthma attacks.
Why is secondhand smoke so harmful to the lung health of non-smokers? The reason seems to be breathing secondhand smoke from the burning end of a cigarette actually contains higher concentrations of carcinogens than what the smoker is actually inhaling. The greater the exposure to secondhand smoke equals the more harmful chemicals ingested into your body.
Lung health is unequivocally damaged by either smoking, or being exposed to secondhand smoke. The chances of death from COPD or lung cancer are great. Even if death does not result from lung damage, poor lung health presents several problems for individuals and increased medical care costs are just one of the problems.
The world would be a better place for everyone if cigarette smoke could be eliminated entirely. People do not smoke to ingest harmful chemicals willingly. The need for nicotine and nicotine addiction drive regular smoking. Fortunately, today there are more and more viable and healthy avenues to obtain nicotine.