How Does Smoking Affect Your Lungs?

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The lungs are greatly affected by smoking because the tiny hairs inside the lungs, called the cilia, are slowed, ceasing their ability to clean out impurities that cause colds, emphysema and other respiratory distress. Discover the ways smoking affects the lungs with health information from a board-licensed practical nurse in this free video on smoking.

Part of the Video Series: Effects of Smoking
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Video Transcript

Smoking has a lot of bad effects and if you're a smoker you may have a few questions. I'm Dan Carlson, I'm a nurse. Today we're going to cover what are the bad effects of smoking on the lungs. Major thing is that it affects your cilia. The cilia are tiny hairs inside your lungs and your throat that help clean out all the nasty stuff and keep other things out. What it does, smoking, is causes them to slow down and in some cases even stop functioning all together and which case you'll have a lot of bad things in your lungs that the cilia won't be able to clear out. That's why you see a lot of smokers who have a lot of phlegm production. Over stimulated phlegm production like coughing a lot of stuff up. That's because that cilia can't get that out of your system. So what happens then is then tar begins to build up there and all the bad things about smoking, the chemicals and stuff that are in your lungs because the cilia won't clean them out and they just sit there and then you're going to have long term effect like emphysema, lung cancer, all sorts of terrible things can come from that. It also causes short term things like colds and respiratory distress just short term problems, they're not always long term but most often than not you'll find a lot of long term problems as well. I'm Dan Carlson, thank you very much.

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