At this point, we're all aware that smoking is bad for us, but that's not quite enough to kick the habit for most people. That makes sense, because nicotine is highly addictive and smoking is a go-to for a lot of people who need to relieve stress. These are stressful times!
But it's even more stressful to be aware of the potential long-term consequences. Smoking causes all sorts of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Smokers live, on average, ten years less than non-smokers, but if you manage to quit before the age of 40, your chances of recovery go up 90 percent. That's probably nothing that smokers don't already know, but knowing isn't the same things as seeing.
A nurse named Amanda Eller in North Carolina shared two videos on Facebook that are making people think about smoking in a brand new way. Eller featured two sets of human lungs. One is a normal healthy pair, the other is a set of lungs that belonged to someone who smoked a pack of cigarettes every day for 20 years. Just looking at them side-by-side is pretty shocking:
But then Eller inflated them. The healthy lungs are creepy to look at for me personally, because they're an organ outside of the human body. That's disturbing. But they work normally:
You can see them expand and then slowly deflate, which allows the organ time to process the oxygen.
Then she inflates the black lungs. They fill with air fairly normally, but almost immediately snap back into their deflated position because they have no elastance: elastance is the elastic resistance lung tissue has.
“Because these lungs are COPD, cancerous lungs, the elastance is gone, so they will stretch out but then the recoil of them just snaps right back,” says a voice in the video.
There is something very recognizable about how the lungs deflate if you have ever seen someone struggling with emphysema or lung cancer. It's incredibly difficult for them to draw a breath, because the air enters the body, but can't stay long enough to give oxygen.
Commenters who had given up smoking started sharing their stories, according to Bored Panda:
No one as passionate as the recently converted!
But on the other side are people who are fully aware of the potential perils ahead and are freaking sick of being told to quit.
"Mind your business," says proud smokers.
It's true, the decision to smoke is entirely personal, and for a lot of people, smoking is a small pleasure they're not willing to give up because of future hardship. But at least folks should know, if they don't yet, and Eller's video clearly struck a chord. If you don't know, now you know. Make your own decisions.