7 doctors weighed in:

How can a chest X-ray show that i’m a smoker? My doctor asked me if i smoke after looking at my chest x-ray. Is there something different about a smoker’s x-rays and a non-smoker’s x-rays?

7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Nuclear Medicine
3 doctors agree

In brief: Dirty lungs?

Usually smoking appears on chest radiograph as prominent central markings which can also be seen in viral infection, reactive airway disease, and inhaling polutants.
Interstitial markings or small lines in lungs more prominent.

In brief: Dirty lungs?

Usually smoking appears on chest radiograph as prominent central markings which can also be seen in viral infection, reactive airway disease, and inhaling polutants.
Interstitial markings or small lines in lungs more prominent.
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Thank
Dr. Robert Andrews
Radiology - Interventional
1 doctor agrees

In brief: The

The classic finding on a smoker's chest film is increased lung volume, which in turn is caused by breakdown of lung tissue.
The diameter of the chest is increaed, which is best seen on a view from the side, and the diaphragm is pushed down and flattened. Often, one can actually see holes in the lungs called bullae.

In brief: The

The classic finding on a smoker's chest film is increased lung volume, which in turn is caused by breakdown of lung tissue.
The diameter of the chest is increaed, which is best seen on a view from the side, and the diaphragm is pushed down and flattened. Often, one can actually see holes in the lungs called bullae.
Dr. Robert Andrews
Dr. Robert Andrews
Thank
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
Addiction Medicine

In brief: Yes

If someone has been smoking a long time and/or heavily, there are changes in the interstitial markings (all the little white specks in an xray) that are typical, and are sometimes referred to "dirty" lungs, where there are no specific lesions, but a pattern of mild inflammatory changes that have a distinctive look.

In brief: Yes

If someone has been smoking a long time and/or heavily, there are changes in the interstitial markings (all the little white specks in an xray) that are typical, and are sometimes referred to "dirty" lungs, where there are no specific lesions, but a pattern of mild inflammatory changes that have a distinctive look.
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Aaron Milstone
Board Certified, Internal Medicine - Pulmonology
24 years in practice
1M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors