Smoking cigarettes is one of the numerous ways to damage your respiratory system, and it can cause life-threatening complications. It is also believed to be one of the preventable major leading cause of death.

A person who smokes just a few sticks of cigarettes a day is exposed to almost as much risk of damage to the lungs as someone who smokes a couple of packs per day.

Researchers have reported that ‘light smokers’ who smoke five or fewer cigarettes a day had a decline in lung function that was similar to people who smoke more than 30 cigarettes per day.

They, therefore, concluded that it would take a light smoker only one year to lose the same amount of lung function a heavy smoker would lose in 9 months.

This proves that smoking cigarettes, either as a light or a heavy smoker, is dangerous for one’s health. It also raises the need for ‘addicts’ to quit smoking, or for non-smokers to avoid it at best!

Ways cigarettes affect your lungs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking cigarettes increases the risk of dying from all causes, and not just from those linked to tobacco use disorders:

• It increases the risk of having lung disease due to the damages it causes to your airways.

• Smoking cigarettes causes you to inhale a stimulant called nicotine, which is quite addictive and makes it difficult for you to quit smoking.

• Cigarettes also greatly increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

This is because some of the chemicals inhaled into the airways when cigarettes burn have the potential to cause cancerous growth.

These chemicals injure the cells that dwell in your lungs, causing them to grow uncontrollably by rapid cell division. The aftermath is that your body tries to rectify the damage, and in so doing, the good and healthy lung tissue breaks down.

A decline in lung function

Lung function tests are series of tests carried out to see if your lungs are functioning properly. One of these tests estimates the time it takes to breathe in and out.

Although this naturally declines with age, smoking cigarettes is known to quicken this process.

Hushman, Sharifi, MD, a pulmonologist at Stanford Health Care in California, told Healthline that “your airway walls become weaker and collapse when you exhale, trapping air inside the lungs.

“When you take your next breath, you stack the new air on the trapped air. The simple act of breathing thus becomes difficult and uncomfortable.”

Due to the damage smoking does to the lungs, you may unavoidably need extra or supplemental oxygen from a tank to retain the necessary amount of oxygen the body needs.

Ways to stop smoking

Either you’re an occasional or a heavy smoker, it can be very difficult to quit smoking due to the addictive nature of nicotine present in cigarettes.

You’ll begin to experience withdrawal symptoms the moment you reduce the regular fix of nicotine intake. This is what makes it pretty challenging to quit smoking!

For some, it can be due to depression, stress, anxiety, and other personal issues.

In order to successfully do this, you must first identify whether you’re a heavy smoker or not. Then find the situations that trigger the feeling, and provide a solution to it.

Due to the challenges associated with quitting this addictive habit, you might also require expert medical advice to help you quit. These experts can be health care providers, counselors, and therapists.

Having healthy lungs is essential for your overall health and well-being.

The best way to achieve this is by maintaining a ‘no smoking’ policy.