No Smoking Day: Video shows difference in lung capacity between a smoker and non-smoker

The video compares a blackened lung with a healthy organ

Most people know that smoking is extremely harmful and causes many serious diseases, but some people - particularly those hooked on nicotine - can't fight the temptation to light up. 

The video below is a stark reminder of how harmful smoking is to the lungs. 

Filmed in a lab, it shows a healthy pink lung in comparison to an organ blackened by smoke. 

While the healthy lung expands when filled with air, the decreased capacity of the smoker’s lung means it barely changes. A lower capacity enables a smaller amount of oxygen to reach the bloodstream. 

As well as lung cancer and heart disease, smokers are also susceptible to bronchitis. Smoke particles damages the cilia: hair-like structures inside the organs which catch irritants and excess mucus. Heavy smokers destroy the cilia, making them prone to infections. 

On 9 March, the British Heart Foundation and other organisations mark No Smoking Day to draw attention to the dangers of the habit.

A new study released to co-incide with the day has found that those who try to quit smoking are now using e-cigarettes more than other methods such as nicotine gum and skin patches. 

More than one million smokers in England used the devices when trying to quit last year, according to academics at University College London (UCL).

They estimated that 2.6 million of England's eight million smokers tried to quit last year. Two fifths of those who tried to quit used an e-cigarette compared with 26 per cent who used a licensed nicotine products.

”We estimate that e-cigarettes have probably helped around 20,000 smokers to quit each year, that wouldn't have otherwise," said Robert West, professor of health psychology at UCL.

Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, added: “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.

“This unique study shines a light on just how popular e-cigarettes have become as an aid for smokers trying to quit and we need to listen to what is helping people the most on their path to a smoke free life.”