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Inside the Human Body - The Respiratory System

Tobacco

How does smoking affect our lungs?

Smoking is harmful to our bodies in many ways, but it is the most harmful to the lungs.

Smoke from cigarettes contains tar, which sticks to the cilia in our lungs. The cilia usually act like little brooms to sweep out harmful dirt, but when you smoke cigarettes, the cilia can't work because they're covered in sticky tar. That means that dirt can stay in the lungs and cause problems.

Even if you don't smoke, your lungs are still in danger if you breathe in smoke from another person's cigarette. This is called second-hand smoke, and it is as dangerous as smoking the cigarette yourself! That's why you should always try to stay away from smokey places. Keep your lungs healthy and stay away from cigarette smoke!

Do you know that tobacco kills more people in Canada each year than car accidents, suicides, murder, AIDS, and drug use all together? 100 Canadians quit smoking every day... because they die. Don't fall into the same trap they did!

5 reasons to never start smoking!

Smokers get seriously ill more easily than non-smokers. Some of these sicknesses are bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer, and heart disease!

Most of these sicknesses are a result of damage to the cilia (the little brooms) in the lungs. Without the cilia working, the dirt-filled mucus slides down into your lungs and blocks the tiny airways so that the air can't get in and out! You may notice that people who smoke seem to cough a lot. This is because they have to cough to get rid of the dirty mucus in their lungs. People who have healthy lungs hardly ever need to cough, because we have those great cilia working to get that dirt out!


CDC leaf This digital collection was produced under contract to Canada's Digital Collections program, Industry Canada. The web site was produced by a youth team at the Saskatchewan Lung Association.