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Preventing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

secondhand smoke

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  • A major cause of COPD is smoking tobacco . If you’ve been indulging in this habit for a number of years now, it’s important that you stop immediately
  • The following are tips you can practice to lower your risk of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can greatly affect your quality of life, but fortunately, it can be prevented as well. Proper lifestyle checks must be implemented to help protect your lungs at all times. For those who are already living a healthy lifestyle but have hazardous occupations, you may need to invest in high-quality safety equipment to safeguard your well-being. The following are tips you can practice to lower your risk of COPD.

Stop Smoking to Save Your Lungs

A major cause of COPD is smoking tobacco. If you’ve been indulging in this habit, it’s important that you stop immediately to prevent further lung damage from occurring. Even if your COPD does not worsen, you may run the risk of getting lung cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking is linked to 80 to 90 percent of diagnosed lung cancers.1

If you’re having trouble quitting, it is recommended that you seek behavioral support from a licensed therapist. They may be able to identify the source of your emotional and physical dependence to smoking, thus allowing you to tackle these issues and address your addiction.2 There are many different ways to help quit smoking, but individual counseling has been found to be highly effective.3

Avoid Secondhand Smoke

In addition to directly smoking cigarettes, exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk of COPD.4 You may be exposing your loved ones to “thirdhand smoke,” a situation wherein toxins from cigarette smoke remain in your hair and clothes, which can be passed down to family members. However, you can avoid secondhand or thirdhand smoke if you implement the following changes:5

  • Keep your home smoke-free by asking family members and friends who smoke cigarettes to step outside instead.
  • If your workplace allows smoking, ask for a separate smoke-free space to protect your health.
  • Choose restaurants that are smoke-free if you decide to dine out.
  • When traveling, stay in smoke-free hotels and rent cars do not allow smoking inside.

When Possible, Stay Away From Air Pollution

Another growing problem is air pollution, which also happens to be a major contributor to COPD. In developing countries, houses with poor ventilation eventually affect the lung health of those living there.6 To improve air quality at home or outside, here are some steps you can take:7

  • Use natural cleaning supplies: Common cleaning materials that use synthetic chemicals can give off harsh odors that may damage your lungs. When used repeatedly, the risk of COPD may increase.
  • Upgrade air circulation at home: Placing air filters and getting your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems checked and cleaned can remove possible irritants.
  • Tune up your car: Maintain your car regularly to help reduce the emissions.
  • Reduce use of air fresheners: Fresheners may emit odors that will irritate your lungs.
  • Clean your surroundings regularly: Vacuum your home and car frequently to help prevent dust from causing breathing problems.

Protect Yourself While You’re on the Job

In some cases, your job may be the primary cause of COPD. According to Dr. Timothy Wu from the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts, miners who dig for cadmium and gold have an increased risk of COPD. Other occupational elements s include coal dust, mineral dust and chemical fumes.8

The best way to reduce this risk is to follow work procedures strictly, as well as wearing appropriate safety equipment. Adhering to these principles diligently may help reduce the risk of COPD.9


COPD: An Introduction

What Is COPD?

COPD Symptoms

COPD Causes

COPD Stages

Types of COPD

COPD Treatment

COPD Life Expectancy

COPD Prevention



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