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Smoking and Tobacco

Smoking

01/05/2001

Question:

Causes of smokers cough

Answer:

The usual cause of smoker`s cough is the effect of smoke on the lung. Normally, the lung passages are lined with a tissue that are lined with millions of microscopic hairs (cilia) that act to "sweep out" the lungs constantly. Cigarette smoke temporarily paralyzes these cilia, so secretions are trapped in the lungs. After several hours of not being exposed to smoke (while sleeping), the cilia begin working again, so all the retained secretions get coughed out; hence the classic morning "smoker`s cough". Other smoking-related causes of cough include heart failure and lung cancer, so any prolonged cough should be checked out by your doctor.

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Response by:

Jerry   Friemoth, MD Jerry Friemoth, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati