Does smoking have any effect on my immune system?

Smoking does affect the immune system in that it affects your lungs so you have easier chances of getting bronchitis, easier chances of getting the flu, easier chances of getting pneumonia, plus other viral illness. One of the things in the lungs are things called cilia which are tiny little hair-like projections that can help clear your lungs from phlegm and other things, but the heat from smoking causes it to not work as well, so you can't clear the secretions which makes you more probable of getting infections. That is why if you quit smoking when those things start waking up, you start bringing up a lot of phlegm and congestion from your chest.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

If your immune system is Superman, smoking is kryptonite. Smoking weakens your immune system. The chemicals in cigarette smoke are an ongoing source of damage to cells throughout the body, and your immune system must continually work to fight off this damage. Eventually, immune system cannot keep up with all the damage caused by the smoke. In fact, new research shows that once weakened, the immune system may not even be able to send out tumor-fighting cells to battle the beginnings of lung cancer. So smoking cigarettes could simultaneously cause lung cancer and weaken your body's ability to fight it.

Yes. Smoking causes inflammation in areas related to your immune system that make your immune system less effective in fighting all types of infections, whether flu, pneumonia, or any bacteria or virus that attacks you. Smoking also, by causing inflammatory changes in your lungs, diverts your immune system from fighting infections elsewhere, we believe, and even from rooting out cancer cells elsewhere, we believe.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.