WebMD.com was developed by a group of doctors and health professionals to provide health and wellness information to anyone with an Internet connection. They pull no punches when they talk about the deadly dangers of smoking.
The globally recognized, free web-based health advocate says, “Smoking’s damage is swift and irreversible.” As with many lifestyle choices, there are far-reaching effects.
Smoking used to be glamorized in Hollywood movies and television programs of the 1950s and 1960s. Commercial advertising of cigarettes was allowed and made a lot of money for the tobacco industry.
In the 1970s and 1980s, researchers in the United States and elsewhere around the world began to understand the very real and very long-lasting negative effects smoking has on the human body and mind. For instance, did you know that…
In a young person who smokes for the very first time, even someone who has never had exposure to secondhand smoke, a single cigarette stiffens the arteries by 25%, making the heart work harder.
The damage is maybe even more significant than that. Researcher Stella Daskalopoulou, MD, of the McGill University Health Centre in the United States, points out that “… cigarette smoking starts inflicting very significant damage on the arteries with the very first puffs taken by otherwise healthy young smokers.” Aside from the heart, significant pressure and stress are placed on the lungs by smoking tobacco products.
Wherever people smoke, anywhere from 75% to over 90% of lung cancer is due to cigarette smoking. This begs the question … can a person’s lungs recover from the damage done by smoking, or is this a permanent condition?
Some Lung Damage from Smoking Is Permanent and Irreversible
The sad truth is that even minimal smoking causes permanent damage to the lungs. This is not to say you shouldn’t quit smoking immediately if you smoke right now, since the significant recovery in parts of the lungs and other areas of the body begins to take place immediately upon the cessation of smoking tobacco products.
What happens in the lungs is that smoking destroys cilia, tiny hairs that protect your lungs against infection. Cilia are easy to kill off, and tobacco smoke does an especially good job at eradicating this natural filtering system from your lungs.
When you stop smoking, any functioning cilia will return to its naturally healthy abilities. However, the cilia you have destroyed will never regrow or be replaced. Also, smoking permanently damages the air sacs in the lungs, elevating the risk of developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
The more you smoke, the more damage you do to your lungs, your heart, and your entire body. There is not an organ in your body that is not negatively affected by tobacco smoke. Do whatever you can to stop smoking today.
Studies show that 10 to 15 years after quitting, your risk of developing lung cancer is equal to that of a person who has never smoked, even if you have smoked significantly in the past. Just remember that every puff you take does some irreversible damage to your lungs, and that is something you cannot repair, you can only prevent.
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