The consequences of smoking are particularly serious for the lungs. Damage to the lungs caused by tobacco is often referred to as smoker's lung. Symptoms can range from a chronic cough and shortness of breath to severe breathing problems. Although there is no complete cure for smoker's lungs, there are treatments that can relieve symptoms and prevent further damage. In this article we will show you how to detect smoker's lungs and what you can do about it.
Causes of smoker's lung
Damage to lungs is often caused by long-term smoking of cigarettes or other tobacco products. Tobacco smoke contains a toxic mix of over 4,800 chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, nicotine and tar, that can damage lung cells and cause inflammatory reactions.
When smoking, harmful particles, gases and chemicals get into the lung tissue and lodge there. The fine cilia in the airways, which normally serve to protect our lungs from foreign bodies, are destroyed by tobacco smoke. As a result, the pollutants can no longer be effectively removed from the airways, which leads to chronic inflammation of the lungs and their tissues.
Over time, mucus builds up in the lungs, which can be perceived as "smoker's cough" or bronchitis. Smokers also have an increased risk of developing lung cancer and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which are associated with a significant impairment of lung function.
Symptoms of smoker's lung
The symptoms of a smoker's lung can be very different and depend on the severity of the disease. Here are some of the most common signs of illness:
- Cough: A dry cough that often occurs in the morning and is difficult to get rid off.
- Expectoration: Yellow or greenish mucus expelled when coughing.
- Shortness of breath: Difficulty breathing, especially with physical exertion.
- Chest tightness: An uncomfortable feeling of pressure in the chest.
- Chronic bronchitis: A persistent cough that lasts at least three months.
It is important to note that smoker's lung is often asymptomatic until diagnosed in later stages. That's because the lungs are able to compensate for the harmful effects of smoking for a while. However, over time, the inflammation worsens and health problems arise.
Therapy of smokers' lung
Although there is no cure for smoker's lung, quitting smoking can help slow or stop the development of the disease. To quit smoking, using an e-cigarette is recommended as part of a smoking cessation program. An e-cigarette, also known as a vaporizer, is an electronic nicotine delivery device that heats up a liquid to create vapor. Compared to a normal cigarette, the vapor from an e-cigarette is significantly less harmful to the lungs because it does not contain products of combustion.
"Long-term studies show that e-cigarettes are up to 95 percent less harmful than tobacco cigarettes."
E-cigarettes can reduce nicotine cravings and ease the transition from smoking to quitting. The non-smoking program nuumi uses a smart vaporizer that supplies the necessary nicotine supply and thus completely replaces cigarettes. The nicotine is reduced gradually and based on individual smoking behavior until the use no longer feels cravings for the addictive substance. By switching from cigarettes to the vaporizer, the lungs are protected from day 1 of the program.
Since smoking is not only physically dependent on nicotine, but also psychologically on account of the habit, nuumi combines the vaporizer with an app in which an AI coach supports users around the clock and guides them through a mindfulness-based behavioral training, with which old patterns can be discarded and new habits can be established. In addition, all puffs can be viewed live in the app to keep track of progress.
This is how the smoker's lung recovers after quitting smoking
Although the smoker's lungs cannot fully regenerate after quitting smoking, in the early stages they can recover to such an extent that symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath decrease significantly.
- After a few days, the bronchi expand and loosen mucus deposits, which makes breathing easier.
- One to nine months after stopping smoking, the cilia regenerate and remove pollutants from the lungs, which improves their function.
- After about five years, the risk of developing lung cancer decreases by about half.
These recovery processes can vary and depend on many factors, such as the person's age, pre-smoking health, and length of cigarette addiction.
Smoker's lung is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on the life of the person affected. Although full recovery is not possible for lungs that are already damaged, quitting smoking can slow the development of the disease. The use of a vaporizer, such as one from the intelligent smoking cessation program nuumi, is recommended for this, as it contains significantly fewer harmful substances than conventional cigarettes and makes the transition from smoking to non-smoking easier. The fact is, it's never too late to quit smoking .