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Smoking causes lung cancer.1,2,3 Smoking causes lung diseases (e.g.

, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic airway obstruction) by damaging the airways and alveoli (i.e., small air sacs) of the lungs. Smoking seriously hurts your lungs:

1. Smoking damages your lungs' natural cleaning and repair system and traps cancer-causing chemicals in your lungs.Smoking destroys the tiny hairs (cilia), which line the upper airways and protect against infection. Normally, there is a thin layer of mucous and thousands of these cilia lining the insides of your breathing tubes. The mucous traps the little bits of dirt and pollution you breathe in, and the cilia move together like a wave to push the dirt-filled mucous out of your lungs. Then you cough, swallow, or spit up the mucous, and the dirt is out of your lungs.When your lungs' natural cleaning and repair system is damaged, germs, dirt and chemicals from cigarette smoke stay inside your lungs. This puts you at risk for chronic cough, chest infections, lung cancer

2. Smoking permanently damages the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. The alveoli, little air sacs at the tips of your lungs, are built like tiny, stretchy balloons. As you breathe in, your alveoli help you absorb oxygen into your body, and as you breathe out, alveoli help get rid of the waste gas carbon dioxide. (Carbon dioxide is a harmful gas that's also found in car exhaust fumes.) Smoke damages you lungs so much that your alveoli become less stretchy. This means it's harder for your lungs to take in the oxygen you need and harder to get rid of carbon dioxide. When the alveoli are damaged like this, you can feel short of breath and tired. Your heart has to pump much harder to give your body the oxygen it needs.

Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer caused by smoking. More than 80% of cases of lung cancer are due to smoking. Cigarette smoke contains many chemicals that interfere with the body's method of filtering air and cleaning out the lungs. The smoke irritates the lungs and leads to overproduction of mucus. It also paralyses the cilia - tiny hair-like structures that line the airways and clean out dust and dirt. Paralysis of the cilia means mucus and toxic substances accumulate, resulting in congestion of the lungs. This extra mucus means smokers are more likely to suffer from chronic bronchitis and what is known as 'smoker's cough'. Cigarette smoke is one of the best known triggers of asthma. When people suffer from asthma their inflamed air passages, which are very sensitive, narrow when exposed to cigarette smoke. This causes an asthma attack. Long term exposure of the lungs to the irritants in tobacco smoke destroys the normal lung structure. The elastic walls of the small airways within the lungs are broken down. This reduces the amount of lung tissue available for the transfer of oxygen from the air to the blood. This condition is

calledemphysema. Some degree of emphysema is found in almost all people who are long-term smokers, however the severity will vary depending on the amount of cigarettes smoked, and the number of years the individual smokes. Damage to the lung tissue is irreversible. Emphysema can be prevented by not smoking, avoiding anything that will irritate the lungs such as dust and cold air, and ensuring any chest infections such as flu and bronchitis are treated properly.