“Cigarettes cause Cancer”! -That’s what we heard growing up, as a reason not to start smoking. But I’m going to tell you a better reason in a minute. Smoking can also cause COPD, Emphysema, Bronchiectasis, all of which can lead to oxygen dependance. This in turn leads to more problems- social isolation, and eventually what we term a Pulmonary Cripple. They can’t exercise, so they can’t breathe. And they can’t breathe, because they can’t exercise. And there is the secret of tobacco: it kills s-l-o-w-l-y. At least Cancer moves quickly. Most people who smoke for several years peg their breathlessness going up a flight of stairs on getting older, or maybe not being in shape. Here’s the truth. Have a seat. Tobacco contains an enzyme. Enzymes are compounds that break down substances. The enzyme in tobacco breaks down your lung tissue. Basically, it digests it. So a little bit of your lungs disappear every time you take a smoke break. That ‘smoker’s cough’? Every time you cough, you cough up microscopic pieces of your lungs. Until one day, there’s not enough left to oxygenate properly. You can’t grow back lung tissue, but there is something you CAN do to reverse the breathlessness and manage the damage. I’ll post that next week. For now, if you haven’t already thrown your pack of cigs away, call 1-800-NO-BUTTS. It’s free, and they will help you! Outside of the US, you can do a Google search for “quit smoking”. Several sites will come up that can help you.
About the Breathing Specialist
The Breathing Specialist has been teaching Pulmonary Rehabilitation classes for over 15 years. The Breathing Specialist is a Registered Respiratory Therapist with 31 years of experience in critical care and emergency medicine.