|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Excellent Question!! And the answer is not so excellent... (but not so bad either) for smokers that is... Lungs can recover SOME of the previous healthy appearance and normal function, depending upon how long and how much the person has smoked. Of course, the more one smokes, the lower the chances are for recovery. Medical Professionals base the smoker's chances for improvement on several factors, but one of the more important factors is known as "Pack Years"(P-Y). If you multiply the number of packs of cigarettes smoked each day by the number of years the person has been smoking, the result is the "Pack Years". For example: Mr "C" is 37 years old and smoked two pack of cigarettes for 19 years. Therefore, Mr "C" has a 38 PackYear smoking history. This is not good at all! When the "P-Y" number is more than the age of the person, the more likely there is to be damage to the lungs. Try to figure the "P-Y" for this person: Jack is 20 years old and says that he started smoking one pack per day at age 13. When he was 18 years old, he started smoking two packs per day. It is important to remember that only after a person STOPS SMOKING (not just says that he or she is "trying to quit" or "smoking less" do the chances for the lungs -and the rest of the body- improve. The best advice is to NEVER, NEVER EVER start to use tobacco in any form and remember what how the lung examples looked! Pink lungs are cool, tarry lungs are for fools! For more information on the internet: http://www.smokehelp.org http://www.wrsgroup.com/HEprodpg/qtoftar/html (By the way, Jack has NINE (9) PackYears)
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