The Link Between COPD and Smoking

COPD and Smoking: How Are The Two Related?

COPD And Smoking Smoking is one of the causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD.)

Smoking damages airways, air sacs, and the lining of your lungs. Damaged lungs cannot do their job of moving air in and out – making it hard to breathe.

COPD Prevalence

COPD has become the third death leading cause of death in the United States, this according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that at least 12 million adults have been diagnosed with COPD. It is also believed that another 12 million are undiagnosed.

The NIH further reports that 120,000 people die each year from COPD complications. It appears more women are dying from COPD than men, and these numbers have increased in recent years.

Doctors recognize the role that tobacco use plays in the development of COPD but getting people to quit smoking isn’t easy. The good news is that smoking cessation programs have gotten better and smokers can benefit from a variety of treatment methods.

COPD and Smoking Statistics

According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, there have been at least one hundred million deaths in the 20th century related to smoking. That number is predicted to be one billion for tobacco use in the 21st century.

Lifelong smokers have a 50% chance of developing of COPD and breathing in second-hand smoke can increase your chances of developing COPD.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking causes up to 80% of COPD deaths. Smoking during childhood and teens years also slows down lung growth development and increases the risk of COPD development in adulthood.

There are, of course, some people who develop COPD and have never smoked, 1 in 4 people with COPD have never smoked.

The best treatment for COPD is to quit smoking as there is evidence that COPD progression is reduced when you stop smoking. However, according to the CDC, up to 39% of people with COPD continue to smoke.

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your lungs and it can keep COPD symptoms from worsening. When you can breathe better, you can live a fuller life.

While it is not easy to quit – newer treatment options are making it a lot easier.

Secondhand smoke also causes COPD flares and further damage, steps should be taken to avoid secondhand smoke.

Next page: Are you ready to quit smoking? Learn more about quitting options and the benefits.

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