Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemical compounds, 69 of which can cause cancer. While approved as food additives they were not tested through burning, which changes their properties! I am just going to write about TWO!!
Tar coats the lining of the airways causing cilia paralysis. These microscopic hair like projections) usually wave or beat rhythmically moving mucus that traps respiratory pathogens, toxins and particles out of the lungs and airways. When this mechanism breaks down these foreign particles cause lung irritation and infection. To compensate more mucus is produced, which is expelled in a smoker’s characteristic persistent cough. Eventually alveoli (small air sacs in the lungs) break down so there are fewer, larger air sacs with a smaller surface area for gaseous exchange causing less oxygen in the blood leading to breathlessness. Over time this combination of factors causes Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COPD).
Carbon monoxide (CO) – (the car exhaust gas!) passes straight into the bloodstream and binds with haemoglobin inhibiting transport of oxygen around the body to the cells and removal of carbon dioxide, the by-product of cellular respiration. Meaning less oxygen gets to the vital organs and chronic deprivation leads to production of abnormally high levels of red blood cells in the blood also making the blood clot easily. Both of these factors may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism.
Cigarette smoke affects every cell in your body – not in a good way!! If you are a smoker and would like to find out more about how you can give up smoking then start by speaking to your family doctor as there are now many aids to help achieve this.