Posted by Tatiana Rodriguez | Filed under Smoking Side Effects
There’s a lot of talk about tar and that it is something that should be avoided. Low tar cigarettes are advertised as a healthier alternative, and cigarette filters are specifically there to reduce the amount of tar that you breathe into your lungs when smoking. But the fact is that no matter how much or how little tar is filtered out, you will always be inhaling tar when you smoke. Tar is also known as tobacco smoke condensate; in other words, when tobacco smoke condenses, tar is the result.
Tar particles are gummy and toxic. They lodge themselves in your lungs, reducing your lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen into the blood stream. Your blood also picks up a lot of the toxins in tar and the immune system is constantly fighting to get the tar out of your body. Smoking gives your immune system a full-time job without any rest, which means that you are more likely to get sick and you are less prepared to fight off disease.
Diseases Resulting From or Exacerbated By Tar
By inhaling cigarette smoke and allowing tar to collect in your lungs, you increase the risk of contracting a number of serious and potentially deadly diseases. The most common results of smoking are bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer.
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the tissue lining the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that connect the lungs and the trachea. Every time you inhale, you breathe air through your bronchial tubes and into your lungs. Smoking brings toxic chemicals into your bronchial tubes and the tar that builds up irritates the sensitive tissue lining. The symptoms of bronchitis are a hacking, chesty cough and difficulty breathing. Chronic bronchitis is when the inflammation is continuous and results in excess mucus creation, and makes the likelihood of contracting pneumonia or other bacterial infections much higher.
The bronchial tubes split off into smaller airways called bronchioles. At the base of bronchioles are air sacs that inflate when you breath in; they are critical to the process of breathing. When the air sacs break down, it is called emphysema, and eventually this leads to an inability to transfer oxygen from your lungs into the blood stream. Emphysema can also be caused by a protein deficiency, but the leading cause is inhalation of smoke and the accumulation of tar and poisonous chemicals in the air sacs. Symptoms include a chronic cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest tightness, and difficulty performing physical activities.
Most people think of lung cancer when they think of how tar affects your body and health. Of the 69 known carcinogens in tobacco smoke, any and all of them can contribute to lung cancer. However, there is a direct correlation between the number of milligrams of tar you inhale to your risk of getting lung cancer.
The only way to avoid inhaling tar into your lungs is to stop smoking. As long as you inhale smoke into your lungs, you are introducing tar into delicate tissues that will become irritated, degrade, and break down over time as a result. Maybe it’s time to start reading about e-cigarettes.