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What Happens to Your Lungs If You Start Smoking as a Minor?

Posted on 24th March, 2021

by Legal Staff

Daily, approximately 2,500 people under the age of 18 begin smoking tobacco, out of which 400 become daily smokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 out of 10 smokers engaged in this unhealthy habit as a minor.

People who start smoking when they are young are more likely to become addicted to nicotine.

In 1997, nearly 37% of high-school students were smokers, whereas, in 2015, there were only 9% since cigarettes were not marketed toward children.

Therefore, the prevalence of smoking among minors decreased considerably. Nevertheless, the damage smoking causes to your lungs as a minor is considerably greater, as the organs are still developing. A study found that young people who were exposed to smoking in movies were 2.6 times more likely to begin smoking themselves.

How Smoking Damages the Lungs of Minors

People who smoke experience inflammation in the small airways and tissue of the lungs. This causes smokers to feel chest tightness and feel shortness of breath following physical activity.

If they do not quit smoking, the inflammation will subsequently lead to scar tissue in the lungs, which results in physical changes of the lungs and the airways.

Furthermore, if you have been smoking for several years, you may experience a chronic cough accompanied by mucus from your lungs. When you smoke, the cells that produce mucus grow in size and number. Because the lungs are no longer able to clear up the excess mucus, you will cough it up frequently if you are a smoker.

Tobacco smoking also destroys the alveoli, which are the tiny sacs of the lungs that allow oxygen exchange. Unfortunately, alveoli do not grow back, so the damage caused by smoking will remain. Smoking inflames and irritates the lungs to a great extent and even one cigarette may cause irritation and coughing.

The damage caused by smoking to your alveoli may result in emphysema, a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. One of the symptoms of this disease is shortness of breath and it can be fatal, as 40% to 70% of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will live for only 5 years following their diagnosis.

Contact Atraxia Law To File a Claim Against Tobacco Companies

Lastly, tobacco smoke also affects the cilia, which are small, brush-like hairs that have the purpose of sweeping out mucus and dirt, thereby protecting your lungs. By smoking, the cilia become temporarily paralyzed, which makes you prone to lung infections such as pneumonia.

Smoking causes your lungs to age faster and damages the natural defense mechanisms of the organs that protect you from getting a respiratory infection. If you begin smoking as a minor, your lungs will be smaller and weaker, as they are still developing.

The team of experts at Atraxia Law has been evaluating personal injury and product liability claims for over 35 years and will assess your eligibility as a smoker for filing a claim with the tobacco manufacturers whose cigarettes you have been using.

To qualify for compensation, you must have begun smoking before 1964 when you were a minor and have lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or throat cancer. If you meet these eligibility criteria, we will subsequently guide you to a specialized attorney so that you can recover the compensation you are entitled to.