Smoking affects the body in numerous ways, but the area of the body that it affects the most is the respiratory system. The respiratory system is responsible for the circulation of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the body’s lungs respectively. Once the lungs are exposed to the chemical-infused smoke from tobacco, breathing can become difficult. This is often referred to as smokers breathing and can adversely impact the person’s quality of life.

Any smoke exposure to the lungs can have negative effects. This is because smoke is a foreign substance to the body, and whenever the body detects a foreign substance, its primary objective is to expel that substance from the body. The way the body attempts to rid the lungs of smoke is by producing mucus and generating a cough. In non-smokers, these effects are usually successful if exposure to smoke doesn’t continue or is at least minimized.

People who smoke regularly often produce so much mucus that it cannot be expelled simply by coughing. For tobacco smokers this may result in long-term breathing disorders. These disorders can be irreversible to smokers breathing because the chemicals contained in tobacco smoke caused significant and irreversible damage to their lungs by continuing to smoke.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a breathing disorder that can result from smoking. Commonly referred to as COPD, the disease cannot generally be contracted from short-term exposure to the carcinogens in tobacco; rather, it is the result of long-term exposure. There are two recognized types of COPD: Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema.

With Emphysema, the sufferer has trouble expelling air. Because of their difficulty in expelling air, their primary symptom is usually shortness of breath, but can also be accompanied by wheezing. Since it’s hard to get air out that can make it equally hard for air to get in. Chronic bronchitis is the result from too much mucus generation. The abundance of mucus and the often resulting inflammation of the airways, make it difficult to take in oxygen.

Once a smoker’s lungs become damaged by the carcinogens in tobacco, the damage cannot be reversed even if the person stops smoking. Eliminating, or at a minimum reducing exposure to tobacco smoke, is an essential part of treatment for smokers breathing that can help alleviate the symptoms.