tidal volume of smokers vs. nonsmokers

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Tidal Volume of Smokers Vs. Nonsmokers


This experiment showed us how fit our lungs are by using a spirometer to measure the different volumes within our lungs. The volumes measured in the experiment include tidal volume, inspiratory reserve volume, the vital capacity, and the forced expiratory volume. Smoking may have an effect on these different volumes of air moving in and out of the lungs. Smoking increases the amount of physiologic dead space within the lungs; this happens when damaged alveoli combine to form larger alveoli, increasing the volume while decreasing the surface area of the alveoli. This increase in volume of the alveoli does not allow for adequate gas exchange, so in theory the body would have to bring in more air to reach the same amount of gas exchange obtained with healthy alveoli. For my hypothesis I will expect to see a higher tidal volume in relation to people who smoke then to people who do not smoke. Tidal volume is the volume of air inspired or expired during a normal inspiration or expiration. The dependent variable for my hypothesis will be whether or not the person is a smoker or a nonsmoker, and the independent variable will be the average tidal volume for the smokers and the nonsmokers.


This study included thirty subjects; 1 females (6 smokers, 1 nonsmokers, ex-smokers) and males (8 nonsmokers, 1 ex-smoker) all of whom used the same equipment while in the same atmosphere. The data collected was done by two spirometers, which measured the tidal volume (TV), expiratory reserve volume (ERV), the inspiratory reserve volume (IRV), the vital capacity (VC), and the forced expiratory volume (FEV) of each subject. The methods for collecting this data are as follows; 1. T.V. breathe normally into the spirometer. . E.R.V. exhale maximally into the spirometer. . I.R.V. Inhale maximally through the spirometer. 4. V.C. and F.E.V. deeply inhale and forcibly exhale. After finishing with the spirometer each subject was to calculate their respiratory rate (breaths/min), the minute respiratory volume (tidal volume x respiratory rate), and the alveolar ventilation rate (respiratory rate x tidal volume � dead space). After all the calculations were made the data was to be recorded as a hole in order to view the groups averages.


The inhalation of cigarette smoke into the respiratory system causes breathing to become forceful and labored. Long periods of labored breathing puts pressure on the lungs that eventually stretches the alveoli beyond their normal limits. Over time the alveoli lose their natural elasticity and sometimes they burst, preventing the alveoli from working efficiently and also reducing their surface area, which intern reduces the elasticity of the lungs. (Alexandria, Virginia) This information goes along with my hypothesis, as the alveoli are continually being irreversibly damaged less and less gas exchange is occurring, therefore the tidal volume must be increased to make up for the inefficiency of those damage alveoli.


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The averaged data collected from the thirty subjects reads as follows; the six subjects who are smokers have an average tidal volume of 0.57 L, the twenty subjects who are nonsmokers have and average tidal volume of 0.6 L, and the four subjects who are ex-smokers have an average tidal volume of 0.8 L. A further break down of the results by gender shows as follows; 6 female smokers have an average T.V. of 0.57 L compared to 0 male smokers, 1 female nonsmokers have an average T.V. of 0.6 L compared to male nonsmokers with an average T.V. of 0.8 L, and female ex-smokers have an average T.V. of 0. L compared to 1 male ex-smoker with a T.V. of 0.75 L. These results are portrayed in the graph that I have prepared.


The information that I have collected from this study proves my hypothesis wrong. My hypothesis stated that I expected to see a higher tidal volume in relation to people who smoke then to people who do not smoke. The data shows that all the subjects who smoke have a lower tidal volume (.57L) then the people who do not smoke (.6L). After reviewing the averages from this study it seems that the body moves less air in and out of the respiratory system when the alveoli become damaged, this could be why people who smoke are more apt to be short of breath while exerting themselves. “In a healthy state, the lung is an extremely efficient organ, supplying the body with oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. When people smoke, they disrupt this process. The smoke irritates the lungs and causes them to narrow; more phlegm is produced making it harder to breathe.” (Medical reporter) This statement goes along with the data collected from the study. People who smoke will have a lower tidal volume due to the fact that it is harder for them to move air into the lungs.


In conclusion, this study showed how tidal volume is affected by smoking. Smoking decreases the tidal volume within the lungs, therefore decreasing the amount of oxygen made available for gas exchange within the alveoli. This decrease in gas exchange causes the smoker to breath harder in order to get enough air into the lungs.





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