Most people understand that smoking is bad for you, and they know that tar is partially to blame for the negative effects of smoking. But exactly how tar affects your body and health is not well understood by the majority of smokers and non-smokers alike. Science has discovered that there are really bad things in tar, and tar itself has a very specific impact on your body and health. Below are some of the most common effects of inhaling tobacco smoke and the tar that come with it.
Lung cancer is a pretty infamous disease. While some people recover or manage to live for years after a lung cancer diagnosis, the majority of lung cancer patients live a shortened and painful life. Lung cancer is one form of lung disease, but lung disease is a broad term for all the diseases and conditions that cause you to have trouble breathing or affect the health of your lungs. Other forms of lung disease include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, asthma, and infections like tuberculosis, pneumonia, and the flu.
Smoking cigarettes increases your chances of contracting all kinds of lung diseases, including lung cancer. 90% of lung cancer cases are attributable to cigarette smoke, either from directly smoking cigarettes or from second hand smoke. In the United States, about 3000 people die every year from lung cancer because of second hand smoke. Cigarette smoke contain at least 69 confirmed and tested carcinogens, or cancer causing chemicals, as well as hundreds of harmful, toxic chemicals that effect your immune system and your body as a whole.
Bronchitis and Emphysema
The way that tar affects your body and health is much more specific in the bronchial tubes, bronchioles, and the air sacs and tissues in the lungs. Tar is a gooey, black substance that is left behind by cigarette smoke. Low tar cigarettes and filtered cigarettes attempt to limit the amount of tar that you inhale when smoking, but the fact is that if you are inhaling smoke, you are inhaling tar, too. Tar has a way of accumulating and causing problems that has made it the clear cause of many diseases, including bronchitis and emphysema.
Bronchitis occurs when your bronchial tubes, the air passages connecting your trachea to the lungs, becomes irritated and inflamed. The delicate lining starts to ooze mucus in an attempt to remove the tar that builds up and irritates the tissues. As a result, people with bronchitis cough and spit up phlegm regularly.
Emphysema is what happens when the air sacs at the ends of the bronchioles start to break down. Holes appear in the lung tissue, which means that you have less surface area where oxygen can be transported to the circulatory system. Emphysema is irreversible.
The only way to avoid getting tar into your lungs is to stop smoking tobacco. Inhaling the smoke from tobacco is carcinogenic and tar causes all kinds of damage and irritation which lowers your quality of life and eventually kills you.