They say humans are among the weakest creatures on the planet when it comes to physical attributes. Man doesn’t have the talons of an eagle to capture a running prey without even touching the ground. He doesn’t have the night vision of canines and felines to see through the night, or the fur of the polar bear to withstand temperatures below zero degrees. But when it comes to respiratory function and capacity, the human lung is by far one of the most efficient in gas exchange, if it’s not ravaged by illness caused by infection or disease that’s caused by smoking. Even if the human lungs are relatively small, it has a highly convoluted surface area that when spread out, could cover a whole tennis court. This large surface area enables proper and efficient gas exchange.
Nicotine and other toxic substances that are found in cigarette and tobacco smoke are very potent in destroying lung tissues, paralyzing the respiratory lining and eventually obstructing the tract. Smoking in general causes impaired gas exchange and therefore, patients with lung disease caused by smoking experience poor oxygenation.
One of the most dangerous ingredients especially of cigarettes is tar, over time; it makes an impermeable coating that sticks to lung tissue. It further impedes proper gas exchange and therefore, shortness of breath and less oxygenation to the brain can be experienced by the patient. A chronic smoker’s lung that’s morbidly coated with tar looks black and completely disturbing.
Smoking also causes breakdown of the alveoli, the minute units of the bronchial tree where gas exchange from the lungs to the bloodstream happens. If the alveoli get damaged because of harmful ingredients in cigarettes or tobacco, they could cause lung collapse, leaving the patient literally breathless. Endotracheal intubation is then given as an invasive procedure in order to facilitate respiration to the person with the collapsed lung.
These are just some of the horrible effects of smoking. The most common disease experienced by smokers is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. So if you don’t want to get black lungs or end up uncomfortably short of breath and everything else, ditch smoking the earliest you can. Or better yet, try to not to smoke. It wouldn't do wonders for your health and wellness anyway.