The environmental polluting agents of air such as cigarette smoke cause most damage to the RESPIRATORY TRACT. This is easy to explain once we look at some fundamental notions of respiratory anatomic physiological pathology.
People inhale 15-20 times per minute on average i.e. 21,000-28,000 times per day equal to 7.5-10 millions times a year and more than a half billion in a lifetime. Every day we breathe in and out 15,000 litres of air i.e. five and half millions litres per year, filtered through an alveolar surface of 70-100 square meters. By breathing in we convey to the alveoli 3,000 litres of O2, whereas by breathing out we take away from the alveoli 6,000 litres of carbon dioxide (CO2).
It is inevitable that harmful agents in the air will attack the integrity of the respiratory tract. Each puff of smoke contains at least 10 to the power of 15 i.e. 10 followed by 15 zeros, an unimaginable number of oxidizing and irritating substances that are responsible for damage to the respiratory tract.
Smoke contains about 4000 damaging components which cause: nicotine addiction, increases heart beat frequency, circulatory problems, less nourishment for tissues, less oxygenized blood, skin discoloration, hair loss, premature aging and a reduced breathing capacity. These irritants also cause a build up of: mucus accumulation in bronchi, chronic bronchitis, carbon monoxide, emphysema, benzpyrene and other carcinogenic substances, which increase the risk of cancer.