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A rough, dry cough caused by excessive smoking of tobacco.
Persons most commonly affected: Smokers of all age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: Respiratoty organs.
Symptoms and indications: Coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing.
Causes and risk factors: Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that irritate the air passages and lungs. When a smoker inhales these substances, the body tries to protect itself by coughing. The well-known \"early morning\" cough of smokers happens for a different reason. Normally, cilia (tiny hairlike formations lining the airways) beat outward and sweep harmful material out of the lungs. Cigarette smoke, however, decreases the sweeping action, so some of the poisons in the smoke remain in the lungs. When a smoker sleeps, some cilia recover and begin working again. After waking up, the smoker coughs because the lungs are trying to clear away the poisons that built up the previous day. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to smoke completely destroys the cilia\'s ability to function. Then the smoker\'s lungs are even more exposed and susceptible than before, especially to bacteria and viruses in the air.
Prevention: Quit smoking.