Inhaling even the slightest bit of smoke—whatever from cigarettes or cannabis—triggers a cough a cough reflex. This happens because smoke irritates the cell linings of the bronchial passages and lungs. Those who smoke on a regular basis, especially over a prolonged period of time, cause substantial damage to their respiratory tract—both upper and lower.
Both cigarette and cannabis smoke as well as aerosol (from e-cigarettes and vape pens) impair and suppress the function of the respiratory tract cells that are responsible for removing pathogens, toxins, dust, and other impurities from the respiratory passages, and induce airway inflammation and concomitant mucus formation. This profoundly weakens the lungs, impairs their ability to cleanse and protect themselves thereby rendering them vulnerable to damage, and rapidly accelerates pulmonary degeneration. This effect causes smokers to exhibit chronic bronchitis symptoms, such as cough, excessive mucus or phlegm, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheeze.
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