MONICA SCHROEDER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MONICA SCHROEDER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration depicting emphysema, a condition characterized by damage to the alveoli. Alveoli are the small air sacs at the end of the respiratory tree (in the lungs). Long term exposure to compounds found in cigarette smoke (such as carbon monoxide and cyanide) are believed to be responsible for loss of elasticity in the alveoli, leading to emphysema and other lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The illustration also includes the appearance of healthy alveoli for comparison.
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