Ryan Au, a teacher in Hong Kong, recently posted a video to YouTube showing an experiment in which a pair of pigs lungs smoked 60 cigarettes and the effect that this had on the pair of lungs.
He did this to try to educate young people as to how even light, social smoking can have negative effects on one’s health.
The Effects of Light Smoking
Most people know that smoking has negative effects on their health but they try to ignore this with excuses that they are only light smokers or casual smokers. A study in the British Medical Journal however has shown that the steepest increase in health risk is between 0 and 1-4 cigarettes a day .
A study done in Oslo, Norway on 23, 521 men and 19, 201 women showed that “in both sexes, smoking 1-4 cigarettes per day was associated with a significantly higher risk of dying from ischaemic heart disease and from all causes, and from lung cancer in women.” The steepest incline in health risk was seen between those that didn’t smoke at all (0 cigarettes/day) and those that smoked 1 to 4 cigarettes per day as opposed to other categories that smoked more.
According to Europe PubMed Central: “Cigarette smoking has been identified as the single most important source of preventable morbidity and premature mortality in the United States for each of the past 25 years.” 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says that “smoking is the primary causal factor for at least 30% of all cancer deaths, for nearly 80% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and for early cardiovascular disease and deaths.” 
Smoking and Our Loved Ones
Not only does light smoking affect smokers but it also affects their families. A study done in Japan and covering 91, 540 non-smoking wives of heavy smokers showed that they had a higher risk of developing lung cancer than wives of non-smokers. 
Other studies have shown the effect that smoking has on the children of smokers, saying that some 9 to 12 million children have significant exposure to smoke inhalation (passive smoking) which may result in respiratory tract disorders. 
How Smoking Affects You
The video by Ryan Au shows clearly how smoking cigarettes causes discoloration to the lungs and the trachea but what is actually happening here?
Smoking damages the lungs in a number of ways – firstly, it destroys the cilia (tiny hair-like structures) of the lungs which help to keep the lungs free from dirt and pollution that is inhaled from the environment. Because the lungs are no longer able to effectively clean the air that enters them, this dirt sits in the lungs along with other chemicals and pollutants from the cigarettes themselves.
In addition smoking affects the alveoli which are responsible for absorbing oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide. Normally (for non-smokers) they are like stretchy balloons able to expand and contract as they take in or expel air. Smoking damages the flexibility of these alveoli making it more difficult for them to effectively absorb oxygen into the bloodstream and expel the carbon dioxide and leaving you feeling short of breath. 
Cigarette smoking, whether on a light, casual basis or a more regular, heavy basis does have harmful effects on your health with the biggest difference being between those who don’t smoke at all and those who only smoke a few cigarettes a day. If we want to improve our health then one of the best things we can do is to stop smoking altogether.[mks_toggle title=”sources” state=”close “]
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