Healthcare Library

Smoking

The lungs are the primary respiratory organs and act as filters for the air the body breathes in. Normally, they have a healthy pink color, as seen in this microscopic view of the alveoli. Filtering smoke from the air breathed in can do damage to the lung tissue as seen on the right in this smoker’s lung. Over time, carbon molecules from inhaled smoke deposit in the lung tissue, giving it a blackened appearance. Smoking can eventually lead to the formation of tumors and other serious lung diseases. Smoking has also been linked to diseases that affect the cardiovascular system, such as atherosclerosis, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. The best advice is if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, it’s never too late to quit.

Smoking

Review Date: 5/10/2019

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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