Anywho - as an athlete, now - when I run through a cloud of cigarette smoke, it makes me gag. It's not just the stinky smell, and toxic fumes, but I get a little miffed. I NEED my lungs! I understand (and care) that my lungs take in oxygen and it is passed on to my muscles. My muscles (my heart!) are needed to use those legs for running and biking, and my arms for swimming.
My lungs might be the most important organ in my body for all of the activities I want to do. It stinks that I messed them up. I've read that your lungs do heal over time. After 5 years, my risk of stroke is that of a non-smoker and my risk of cancer is cut in half. I wonder what kind of runner I could be if I hadn't smoked for 15 years...oh well, all I can do is go from here - and try to avoid the clouds!