Tar in Cigarettes- What Makes it so Dangerous?

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We all know the dangers of smoking- how cigarettes are linked with all kinds of cancers, lung issues and adverse health effects. But do you know why exactly? One of the main reasons is because of tar, this is a sticky brown substance found in cigarettes and is one of the things responsible for making them so dangerous. Read on to find out more. 

How does tar affect the lungs?

Cigarette tar wreaks havoc on the lungs, as it coats their delicate tissues with a sticky residue. As the tar accumulates, it hinders the natural cleansing mechanism of the respiratory system, causing mucus and toxins to build up. This sticky layer which is full of harmful chemicals then settles into the lung’s airways, making it more and more difficult to breathe.

Over time, the continuous exposure to this tar can lead to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which are conditions characterised by inflammation and damage to the air sacs. The carcinogens (cancer causing ingredients) present in tar hugely increase the risk of developing lung cancer too.

This is the reason why vaping doesn’t affect the respiratory system in the same way, since no tar enters the body. This makes it much safer overall, and also a good way to kick the habit if you want to wean yourself off nicotine altogether. You could buy vapes bulk and then slowly reduce down your use until you’re able to quit. 

Why does smoking cause coughing and wheezing?

Your lungs try to rid the tar by making you cough. It’s your body’s way of trying to expel the bad stuff settling in the lungs. It’s the reason why smokers tend to cough and wheeze more, as their body fights back against the constant assault on the lungs. This continual coughing a wheezing is also very bad for the body and can cause all sorts of strains and injuries. Many are quite rare, but it’s still highly possible you can experience some of these side effects from violent or prolonged coughing.

  • Damaged blood vessels – When coughing hard the pressure can possibly damage the delicate and intricate blood vessels that surround the eyes, nose and even anus. This can cause them to rupture and bleed. 
  • Chest aches and pains – The act of coughing exerts muscles in the chest. If you cough extensively for prolonged periods then this can leave your chest muscles sore and fatigued and make breathing feel difficult.
  • Muscle pains – As well as the chest, extensive coughing can also cause other strains and injuries. For instance, the back and abdominal muscles may become sore and tender which can have an affect on your daily activities. 
  • Damage throat tissues – Continual coughing can cause inflammation in the tissues in the throat which can carry a higher risk of infections both bacterial and viral. 
  • Possible cracked or fractured ribs – It doesn’t happen often, and usually only in people with weak bones or low bone density, but a violent coughing fit can even crack or fracture a rib. This is a very painful situation that requires a trip to the Emergency Room. 
  • Blood in the cough phlegm – Continual and persistent coughing can produce blood on the lungs. This can then be coughed up as a bloody mucus or saliva and can be very startling to the person to see. 
  • Ruptured diaphragm – The very act of coughing causes the ribs to press down and in and the diaphragm forced upwards. This can potentially cause a ruptured diaphragm.

When To Seek Medical Attention For Continual Coughs

If you have a very sever cough that won’t go away for more than two weeks then it’s time to seek Medical attention to have the cause thoroughly checked out. It’s particularly important under the following circumstances:-

  • Your coughing lasts more than two weeks.
  • If there is continual yellow mucus or blood in the cough.
  • The cough causes wheezing and breathlessness.
  • You have a fever, shortness of breath, swelling on your ankles of unexplained weight loss.

When To Go To The Hospital Emergency Rooms

  • You lose consciousness.
  • You start to have severe problems breathing and swallowing.
  • Your heartbeat becomes rapid or has other sudden changes.
  • Sever and unexplained stomach pains.
  • Coughing up significant amounts of blood.
  • Sudden or severe chest pains.

How does smoking cause bad oral health?

Tar from cigarettes leads to poor oral health by sticking to teeth and gums each time you inhale the chemicals, creating a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

This sticky residue, stains teeth over time, leading to yellowing and persistent bad breath. It also irritates the gums, increasing the risk of gum disease. The reduced blood flow caused by smoking affects the mouth’s ability to heal and fight infections, making any existing oral health issues worse.

The combination of tar’s sticky nature and the toxic elements it carries means it’s a real issue for gums, teeth and overall oral hygeine. 

Other health issues tar from smoking can cause

Tar doesn’t only bother your lungs; it’s not nice to your heart either. It can stick to the insides of your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow smoothly. This can lead to serious heart problems. And of course, tar is linked to cancer.

Smoking increases your chances of getting lung cancer, and other types of cancer too.

Secondhand smoke

If you think smoking away from others is fine, think again. The tar in cigarette smoke doesn’t just harm the smoker; it’s bad news for those around too. Secondhand smoke is like inhaling a bit of someone else’s toxic cloud since the tar in the smoke finds its way into other unsuspecting people as well.

Lifestyle changes

Smoking is all round bad for your health and you should endeavour to quit as soon as possible if you want to live a healthier lifestyle. Do damage control with other healthful lifestyle choices such as:-

  • Eating lots of antioxidant rich, plant based foods such as fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Exercise at least 3-4 times per week to help keep your heart and lungs strong.
  • Sleep 8 hours a night.
  • Cut right back on alcohol and caffeine.

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