Warning: Graphic Content
This is one for tobacco lovers: a 30-year-old chain smoker’s black lungs were rejected for transplant because of their horrific condition.
Social media users have dubbed it ‘the best anti-smoking ad ever’, and it’s not hard to see why. In 2008, graphic picture warnings were implemented on cigarette packs, but this is much tougher to see.
The viral video has now been seen more than 25 million times across the world. If you’ve ever picked up a cigarette, or thought about smoking, maybe watch this first.
Check out the video below (warning: graphic content):
The footage shows Dr. Chen Jingyu and his transplant team inspecting the tar-blackened lungs at Wuxi People’s Hospital in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province.
Following decades of tobacco intake, the lungs have been transformed into their black state far from the pink colour one usually expects from healthy lungs.
Doctor Chen, a leading lung transplant surgeon and also vice president of the facility, said the donor – believed to be male – was just 52 years of age when he was declared brain dead and his organs were donated.
However, it became quickly apparent after harvesting that the lungs would not be of any use to a patient in need on the waiting list. Medics cited issues such as lung calcification, bullous lung disease and pulmonary emphysema; all tied to three decades of smoking.
Using the hashtag ‘jieyan’ – Mandarin for ‘quit smoking’ – Dr. Chen 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?
Dr. Chen added that the patient didn’t undergo a CT scan before his death, he was declared brain dead, and his lungs were swiftly harvested.
Dr. Chen explained:
Initial oxygenation index tests were OK, 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.
These include lungs under 60 years of age in a patient who has only recently been declared medically dead; minor infections in the lungs and relatively clean chest X-rays are also acceptable. If the above conditions are met, we would consider transplanting the lungs.
According to a 2018 study by China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 26.6% of the country’s population above the age of 15 are smokers.
In 2017, the World Health Organization reported that worldwide tobacco use causes 7 million deaths per year.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.