Smokers exhibit similar lung conditions to those who have cystic fibrosis, new research has revealed.
According to a recent study, cigarette smoke interferes with cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) proteins, creating mucus density similar to that of a patient with cystic fibrosis.
Smokers exhibiting these symptoms are also at greater risk of infection.
Dr Robert Tarran, a researcher on the project, stated: "We hope this study will highlight the importance of airway hydration in terms of lung health and that it will help [...] the development of novel therapies for the treatment of smoking-related lung disease."
Cystic fibrosis and smoking have long had associations for the medical profession.
Patients with cystic fibrosis who are exposed to second hand smoke have been noted to experience significantly worse adverse effects on lung function than those who have not been exposed to second hand smoke.
Certain mutations in the CFTR gene also determine the degree to which second hand smoke exposure affects lung functioning in patients with cystic fibrosis.
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