Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Smoking and Your Lungs

In the UK, lung cancer is known to be the greatest killer claiming around 36,000 lives each year. The principle risk factor of this disease is smoking. If there were no tobacco, lung cancer would have been a rare disease. Smoking and lung cancer are interrelated.

There are gases like carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides, as well as tiny solid particles containing tar in cigarette smoke which damage cells in the airways of the lungs. This damage can produce cells that grow uncontrollably and lead to cancer of the lungs and larynx.

The major risk factors are the number of cigarettes smoked, length of time smoked and the age. The amount of cigarettes one smokes is measured in pack years. One pack year is 20 cigarettes a day for one year. The lower threshold is five pack years over a lifetime, below which the risk of lung cancer is fairly less. Smoking is known to be cumulative and a small level of smoking over a long period of time is also known to be hazardous to health. Research suggests that there is more genetic damage from smoking at a younger age, i.e. a person who starts smoking at the age of around 16 or 17 is known to be susceptible to many smoking hazards. Read more...

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