The lungs are the primary respiratory organs. They act as filters for the air the body breathes in and normally are a healthy pink color.

Inhaling smoke from cigarettes can damage the lung tissue as seen in a smoker’s lung. Over time, carbon molecules from inhaled smoke deposit in the lung tissue, giving it a blackened appearance.

Smoking is the main risk factor for emphysema (also called COPD) and greatly increase the likelihood of lung cancer.

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't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, it's never too late to quit.


Last reviewed 10/4/2008 by Andrew Schriber, MD, FCCP, Specialist in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, New Jersey. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.


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