Smoking And CF



  • Why Smoking and CF Are a Fatal Combination
  • How to Make a Smoking Demonstration Device (9/97)
  • Why Smoking and CF Are a Fatal Combination

    Mucus clearance in a normal lung is accomplished by cilia, tiny hairlike projections lining the inside of the lungs which constantly move dirt, bacteria, and other irritants up into the throat where they can be swallowed. These cilia beat 16 times per second, and even a decrease in this rate impairs mucociliary clearance (MCF).

    CF causes the lungs to become clogged with thick secretions of mucus, containing bacteria and primarily dead white blood cells. These thicker secretions interfere with cilia pulsation, and decrease this rate, sometimes obliterating the function altogether, leading to impaired or nonexistent MCF. Cigarette smoke, even second hand, causes the same impairment. Cigarette smoke paralyzes the cilia it contacts in the sinuses and lungs for twenty-minutes. (This is why heavy smokers have a morning “CF cough” — the cilia regain their function during cigarette-free sleep, and must work overtime to gather all of the mucus and secretions that have built up — 2 liters per day even in a non-CF individual.)

    So a PWCF who inhales second hand smoke, is obliterating the body’s mechanism to remove secretions from the lungs, a mechanism already stressed to the limit by CF. This would be akin to having two progressive lung disease processes occurring in one lung — NOT HEALTHY!

    For further research see:

  1. Butz AM, Rosenstein BJ: Passive smoking among children with chronic respiratory disease. Journal of Asthma, 1992;29:265-272.
  2. Rubin BK: Exposure of children with cystic fibrosis to environmental tobacco smoke. New England Journal of Medicine, 1990; 323:782-788.


How to Make a Smoking Demonstration Device (9/97)

Materials needed:

  • 1 *clear – not colored* bottle from liquid dishwashing soap that has been emptied, rinsed and dried
  • 2 cotton balls 1 length of clear tubing (the tubing used to attach neb cup to pulmo-aid machine is excellent for this!)
  • 1 cigarette and matches

Unscrew the bottle cap and place the cotton balls inside. Re-cap the bottle. With sharp knife or scissors, carefully cut the tip off of the squirt bottle.

Next, measure the tubing so that the length of tubing runs into the bottom of the bottle, resting near the bottom. The other end of the tip protrudes from the top of the bottle cap and must fit snuggly (this is wear the “tip end” that used to hold the neb cup works well).

Finally, insert one cigarette into the protruding tip end of tubing (you may have to scrunch the cigarette a bit). Light the cigarette – then *very* gently begin squeezing the bottle to simulate “breathing.”

The bottle represents the lungs – the cotton balls represent alveoli. Soon you will see the bottle fill with smoke and the cotton balls and sides of bottle turn brown with tar and niccotine.

This was a very convincing project which a group of us demonstrated to our peers for a health lesson in a “Health for School Children” college class I took. We then presented to fifth graders at a local school. One parent called the teacher the next day – very upset – because her daughter had come home and thrown out all the mom’s cigarettes after watching the demo. The daughter told the mom she didn’t want her to have brown lungs. I won’t relate what the mom told the teacher…