According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use is still the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. On an annual basis, smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans every year and nearly ten per cent (41,000 deaths) are attributed to secondhand smoke. The statistics that the CDC revealed showed that in 2016, an estimated 37.8 million Americans were smoking cigarettes and of that number more than 75 per cent (76) were daily smokers.
Amanda Eller is a registered nurse from North Carolina who currently works at Mission Health. Mission Health, which is based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state’s sixth largest health system. Their mission statement is to ‘[improve] the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina.’ Amanda recently uploaded a video demonstrating the difference in utility between a healthy lung and a cancerous lung from a daily smoker who went through a pack of cigarettes every day for twenty years.
Amanda, who uploaded the viral video onto Facebook, explained the difference between the healthy, red-colored lung of a non-smoker versus a dark, cancer-ridden and charred-looking lung of a daily smoker who went through a pack a day.
Amanda is heard saying: ‘these lungs are COPD lungs, cancerous lungs. The elasticity has gone, so they stretch out but the recoil of them just snaps right back because there’s nothing to help hold them open. You can see how fast they deflate.’
Amanda placed a tube into the lung to demonstrate how the lungs worked. When oxygen was pumped into the cancer-ridden lung it would inflate and then quickly deflate, whereas with a healthy lung, the lungs would inflate and then take a while to deflate. As Amanda explains, there is a certain elasticity to a healthy lung which helps the lung stay inflated and somewhat full even when a person is not inhaling.
According to The BMJ, smoking just one cigarette a day can increase the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 50 percent! The researchers at The BMJ state: ‘no safe level of smoking exists for cardiovascular disease. Smokers should aim to quit instead of cutting down to significantly reduce their risk of these two common major disorders.’
The researchers examined 141 studies via 55 publications from the years of 1946 to 2015 and found that men who cut down their smoking to just one a day still had a 48 percent greater chance of developing coronary heart disease than those who didn’t smoke. Women were at an even higher risk at 57 percent. Men were 25 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke whereas women were 31 percent more likely when they cut down to one cigarette a day. In an interview with the BBC, Professor Allan Hackshaw from the Cancer Institute at University College London and lead author of the study said: ‘there’s been a trend in quite a few countries for heavy smokers to cut down, thinking that’s perfectly fine, which is the case for things like cancer. But for these two common disorders [heart disease and stroke], which they’re probably more likely to get than cancer, it’s not the case. They’ve got to stop completely.’
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