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Simple breath test shows smokers' lung damage

GPs can demonstrate the damage a smoker is doing to their lungs via a simple breath pH test, say UK researchers.

Their study in 35 people compared exhaled breath condensate pH with biomarkers of airway inflammation and oxidative stress, such as sputum inflammatory cell counts.

They found the breath of smokers was significantly more acidic in smokers, compared with non-smokers – with pH values of 6.91 and 7.41 respectively – and was a significant marker of airway oxidative stress.

Respirology 2009:

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