Cigarette Smoking and Lung Dangers

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Cigarette smoking kills nearly 430,000 people every year, making it more lethal than car accidents and drug overdoses just to name a few. A smoker's life expectancy is reduced by 15 to 25 years and is the single most preventable cause of death. With lung cancer being a primary result of cigarette smoking, there are also a wide array of other lung problems that occur as a result of smoking. Cigarettes contain 4000 chemicals, most of them are toxic. These ingredients affect everything from proper organ functioning to the efficiency of the body's immune system. Smoking irritates and damages the respiratory tract, which can cause a variety of symptoms, including bad breath, cough, sputum production (phlegm) wheezing, asthma, bronchitis and even pneumonia. It is also the biggest risk factor for developing chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which is permanent damage to the lung tissue. Smokers also suffer from a decreased lung reserve, meaning, they are unable to run or even walk as far or as fast as other non-smokers. They also permanently impair their lung function, although quitting smoking can improve pulmonary function by about 5% within a few months and mortality rates also decline after a few years. Here are some cigarette smoking facts to help with patient education: Cigarette smoking is addictive; it fulfills these three criteria: Smokers develop a tolerance to nicotine (they need to smoke more and more for an effect). Smokers become dependent on it (they need it to feel comfortable). Smokers suffer withdrawal symptoms (physical and psychological discomfort when they try to stop smoking). There are hundreds of chemical substances in cigarette smoke. Three of the most damaging are: Tars--damage delicate lung tissue and are considered the main cancer- causing agent in cigarette smoke. Nicotine--a poison found only in tobacco leaves. It can be extracted as a colorless, oily transparent liquid and used in solution as an insecticide. One drop of pure nicotine...
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