We’ve all been told over and over that smoking is bad for us. And the public campaigns have worked: the CDC says the rate of adult cigarette smokers in the US went down from just shy of 21% in 2005 to 15.5% 11 years later in 2016.
But if the stats—cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States—don’t scare you enough, maybe a visual of the damage that cigarette smoking can do will convince you of the danger of cigarettes.
Last month, Facebook user Amanda Eller posted video footage showcasing how diseased lungs function in contrast to healthy lungs.
“Cancerous, 1 pack per day for 20 years lungs versus healthy lungs. Still wanna smoke?” she wrote on Facebook.
In the shocking footage, you can tell how much more difficult it is to keep the cancerous lungs pumping.
The person who the diseased lungs belonged to had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as cancer. COPD, an inflammatory lung disease, causes the airflow coming from your lungs to be obstructed. Difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, and mucus production are all symptoms of COPD.
COPD is caused by exposure to particulate matter or gases that irritate the body. Usually, the condition is caused by exposure to cigarette smoke over a long period of time.
COPD causes the lungs to lose the natural elasticity of them that allows you to take a deep breath easily. The lungs of a person with COPD over expand, causing air to get trapped in the lungs when the person exhales.
Cigar smoke; pipe smoke; secondhand smoke; and workplace exposure to fumes, dust, and smoke can all cause COPD, which develops over years. Most people who develop the disease are 40 years old, at the least, when their symptoms begin.
Additionally, if a smoker develops COPD before they develop lung cancer, they increase their chances of having lung cancer. But if they stop smoking, they can decrease this risk, Mayo Clinic says.
Quitting smoking is the “most essential” part of treating COPD, Mayo Clinic explains. Giving up cigarettes is the only way to stop COPD from advancing. Mayo Clinic recommends asking your doctor about potentially using nicotine replacement products that might prevent a relapse if you have decided to give up smoking.
While adults in the US aren’t smoking nearly as much as they used to, we still have a ways to go before we’ve educated everyone on the risks of smoking, even just socially.
According to CDC data, in 2017, of every 100 adults in the US, 14 smoked cigarettes. This equates to an estimated 34.3 million people—not including children—smoking cigarettes. This isn’t inconsequential: In America, more than 16 million people have a disease related to smoking.