Reasons Paralyzed Individuals Shouldn’t Smoke

a woman smiling
Curated by
Kristen Sachs
Content via Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Curated by
Kristen Sachs

There’s no doubt cigarette smoking has a bad reputation. And there’s medical evidence showing that smoking can lead to things like heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. But for people with paralysis, there are additional ways that smoking can be harmful.

Dr. Spine of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation lists the ways smoking can be a deadly choice for people with spinal cord injuries.

“I do all I can to get the people I work with off of cigarettes.”

Paralyzes Cilia

Cilia line the inside of your lungs and help to push mucus up and out. With the cilia paralyzed from smoking, it is more difficult to get rid of mucus in the lungs.

Increases Secretions

Lung secretions can be problematic for people with SCI in general. And if you smoke, those secretions increase. If the secretions get too thick, it becomes more difficult to expel them. A build up of secretions can lead to problems like bronchitis, pneumonia, and other lung issues.

Puts Immune System at Risk

Your immune system helps keep you healthy by warding off infections and viruses. If this system is compromised by smoking, your overall health is at risk.

Increases Risk for Pressure Ulcers

“Smoking constricts the blood vessles and undermines circulation to all parts of the body, but in particular the skin,” says Dr. Spine. This means that people with SCI who smoke have a greater chance of developing a pressure sore.

Individuals with SCI must be diligent in keeping their bodies as healthy as possible. Please share this post with others to warn them of the increased risk smoking poses to people with paralysis.

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