Cigarettes contain many hazardous substances that damage the lung when inhaled, including tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, and cyanide. Long-term exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and/or repeated respiratory infections also can increase a person's risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
Review Date 11/20/2017
Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.