Smoking and COPD

People with COPD have difficult time breathing and the only way to prevent it from getting worse is to stop smoking. More than 100,000 people die each year because of COPD due to smoking.

According to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study people who smoked were 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute more than 12 million people are currently diagnosed with COPD and another 12 million have it and don’t even know it.

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. “Progressive” means the disease gets worse over time.

COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, also may contribute to COPD.

Healthy Alveoli and Damaged Alveoli
Healthy Alveoli and Damaged Alveoli

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