Doctors from the Wuxi People’s Hospital in Jiangsu, China, extracted the organs of a chain smoker after the 52-year-old man, who had multiple lung diseases, died.
Instead of being a healthy pink, they were charcoal in colour and extremely inflamed from decades of tobacco residue clogging them up.The video, recorded by the surgeons, has been viewed more than 25million times on social media, with users dubbing it the ‘best anti-smoking ad ever’.
It was uploaded by the hospital with the caption: ‘Do you still have the courage to smoke?’
The patient had signed up to donate his organs after death, but medics quickly realised they would not be able to use them.
Dr Chen, a lung transplant surgeon and also vice president of the facility, led the operation.
He said: ‘The patient didn’t undergo a CT scan before his death. He was declared brain dead, and his lungs were donated shortly after that.
‘Initial oxygenation index tests were okay, but when we harvested the organs, we realised we wouldn’t be able to use them.
‘We Chinese love smoking. It would be impractical to say that we wouldn’t accept the lungs of all smokers, but there are strict standards.
‘[We would accept] lungs from people under 60 years of age who have only recently died, minor infections in the lungs and relatively clean X-rays are also acceptable. If the above conditions are met, we would consider transplanting the lungs.’
Professor Peter Openshaw, of the National Heart and Lung Institute, said the patient had been suffering from lung pulmonary emphysema.
It causes the organs to become severely inflamed and expand and makes sufferers short of breath.
He said that medics may have also inflated the lungs with air or fluid prior to harvesting them for donation.
This makes them look much larger than the normal deflated lung postmortem, he explained.
Dr Chen uploaded the clip to social media with the hashtag ‘jieyan’ – Mandarin for ‘quit smoking’.
He wrote: ‘Many smokers in this country have lungs which look like this.
‘Our team decided to reject these lungs for transplant. If you’re a heavy smoker, your lungs may not be accepted even if you choose to donate them after death.
‘Look at these lungs – do you still have the courage to smoke?’
According to a 2018 study by China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 350million adults (27 per cent) are smokers.
In England, One in seven adults now smoke tobacco – around 5.9million people, down from 7.7million in 2011, when the figure was closer to one in five.
Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of cancer and is known to produce chemicals which cause at least 15 different forms of the disease.
Evidence shows it causes around 70 per cent of all cases of lung cancer, which has the highest death count of any form of cancer.
People are drawn to smoking because nicotine can make them feel good, but it’s easy to become addicted and very difficult to quit once smoking becomes a habit.
Smoking kills 1.2million people every year and people who do it are twice as likely to have a heart attack and up to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer.
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