Researchers agree it's not the ideal situation, but they say people in need of a lung transplant are better off getting the donated lung of a smoker than getting no lung at all.
The study published in the medical journal Lancet shows recipients live a little longer, but not as long as someone with a non-smoker lung.
Researchers looked at 1,295 lung transplants. Nearly a third used lungs from donors who smoked.
Recipients of such lungs had worse three-year survival after transplantation than did those who received lungs from donors who had not smoked. The study also showed that patients receiving lungs from donors who smoked had a lower risk of death than those who remained on the waiting list.