In healthy people, symptoms of smoke exposure usually include irritation of eyes, nose and throat or breathing discomfort. More severe symptoms may include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Prolonged exposure to smoke of all kinds is harmful to people of all ages. Like cigarette smoke, smoke from fires can eventually damage your body’s ability to remove large particles and excess phlegm from your lungs and airway. But, the healthy lung has a great ability to recover from the effects of smole, provided there is time to recover.