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2. Cigarettes Harm the Health of Your Respiratory Tract
Smoking changes the cells within your respiratory tract; production of phlegm increases and narrowing passages within your respiratory tissues makes it harder for you to clear the phlegm from your lungs. As a result, mucus accumulates.
The damp, warm mucus is a perfect breeding ground for infections — such as pneumonia, strep throat and influenza — to develop. Some of the changes to your cells may result in the formation of cancer cells.
Fifteen percent of cigarette smokers develop significant airway obstruction. Experts believe smoking is responsible for 80 to 90 percent of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.