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Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 May;9(5):377-84. doi: 10.1038/nri2530.

How cigarette smoke skews immune responses to promote infection, lung disease and cancer.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Centre for Gene Therapeutics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


A complex and multilayered immune defence system protects the host against harmful agents and maintains tissue homeostasis. Cigarette smoke exposure markedly impacts the immune system, compromising the host's ability to mount appropriate immune and inflammatory responses and contributing to smoking-related pathologies. These adverse effects on the immune system not only occur in active smokers, but also in those exposed to smoke passively in contaminated environments, and may persist for decades after exposure has ended.

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