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Smoker’s cough isn’t a medical term, but it does signify that some pretty significant things are occurring in your body when you smoke. It typically doesn’t affect new smokers but it will often bother people who smoke heavily, especially over a period of many years. A specific process causes smoker’s cough, and though the term relates to smoking, it can also occur in people who are routinely exposed to other throat, nasal and lung irritants over a period of several years.
Tiny fibers in the nose and the trachea called cilia operate by pushing irritants out of the body. When you smoke, you begin to damage these cilia, sometimes nearly killing them or making them completely nonfunctional. When you go through periods of not smoking, like when you’re sleeping at night, your damaged cilia can’t move the phlegm up to your throat where you can swallow it. Smoking does cause extra mucus to develop in order to get foreign toxins out of your lungs.
The result of smoker’s cough for most people is that they wake up in the morning with considerable phlegm in their throats. To clear this phlegm they may need to cough repeatedly. Advanced cases of smoker’s cough mean people can cough for a long time after waking to clear this phlegm.
Smoker’s cough indicates you have damaged cilia, which aside from smoking can create other health hazards. You are much more susceptible to respiratory illnesses because these important fibers aren’t doing what they can to remove germs from your system. Cilia are a great defense against airborne illnesses, especially when they function normally. You also may have a more difficult time recovering from colds, and be more prone to bronchial and respiratory infections because your cilia are not working.
You should also look at smoker’s cough as a means of suggesting that your body is less and less capable of handling the poisons you’re inhaling. It may be challenging to quit, but smoker’s cough indicates that your respiratory system is damaged. Other types of coughing, especially those that don’t resolve within an hour of waking, and if you cough up blood or yellow to green phlegm, may suggest presence of bacterial illness.
Mostly though, if you have smoker’s cough, you likely know you’ve been smoking for a long time. Possibly it’s time to consider that your body is sending you a clear message when you must cough and cough in the morning before you can start accomplishing any of your daily tasks. It’s not only unpleasant, but a signal that cigarette and tobacco smoking are simply not good for the body.