- We are all exposed to cigarette smoke and, in particular, to one of the most important carcinogenic ingredients: benzo (a) pyrene.
Smokers who breathe deep into the smoke and hold the smoke in their lungs for 2 - 3 seconds, by breathing out slowly, have a larger deposit of particles of 1 - 3 μm in their airways. The process of absorption of water vapor by hygroscopic particles in cigarette smoke is recognizable. A smoker who breathes long and deep, blows out white smoke instead of the blue smoke that is the original color of tobacco burning gases.
Irritation of the respiratory tract mucous membrane as a result of smoking leads to increased mucous production. In the long run, the heavy smoker's first cigarette of the morning does not produce enough irritation to cough up all the mucus that has collected during the night. A drainage problem arises on the minute air sacs involving stasis and a diminution of the diameter of the smaller bronchi. Stasis increases the risk of infection and allergic processes if inhaled micro-organisms and antigens can reach these areas. Some smokers cough and bring up mucus. Some develop a severe bronchial obstructive syndrome, in which coughing is completed with shortness of breath and wheezing in the chest. In addition to accumulation of mucus, these patients have bronchial spasms and edema of the bronchial mucous membrane and muscles of the bronchial wall, and to allergic processes in the bronchial wall.
Smokers who develop shortness of breath, coughs and wheezing in the chest are individuals who develop the most lung tumors.
Indoor air pollution
Significantly increased dust levels are measured in households where birds are kept. Particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micron or less is the most important health risk of (indoor) air pollution. The amount of particles of about 2 microns is increased in bird-keeping households. Bird keepers, and especially bird breeders, have an increased risk of infection with local damage to the tissue and allergic reactions in the lung tissue. Due to excessive mucus production, there is more drainage of alveoli in smokers than in non-smokers. As a result, the dust container and antigen load is shifted from the alveoli to the smaller air tubes in the bird keeper who smokes. The antigens reach the smallest alveoli in smaller quantities and the immune responses and inflammation occur more strongly in smaller bronchi. The smaller bronchi are the preferred location of lung cancer.
Both smoking and keeping birds are ultimately responsible for the poor functioning of the "lung cleaning service" and a shortage of immune proteins. The result is less protection of the lung mucosal cells against continual allergen and fine material that precipitates on the thin mucus layer of the smaller air tubes and subsequently lung cancer. It is therefore possible to see why most lung tumors develop in the smaller air tubes, at some distance from the finest alveoli, where gases and dust particles circulate at first instance. Both smoking and keeping birds at home increases the dust content of the air in the house.
- Dust particles from bird cages and tobacco smoke are potentially more harmful than the particles that occur in outside air (eg pollen grains, ash, soot particles and sand grains).
- There is every reason to pay particular attention to the bird breeders among the smokers.