Behavior Health and Wellness Blog

Behavior Health
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Smoking and COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a collection of conditions that obstruct airflow and lead to breathing difficulties. COPD encompasses diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. With COPD, reduced airflow occurs through the airways, which are the tubes responsible for carrying air in and out of your lungs due to one or more of the following listed below:

  • The airways and tiny air sacs in the lungs lose their ability to stretch and shrink back.
  • The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed.
  • The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed (irritated and swollen).
  • The airways make more mucus than usual, which can clog them and block airflow.

COPD is typically caused by cigarette smoking, but long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as secondhand smoke, can also contribute to the condition. Approximately 1 in 4 Americans with COPD have never smoked. However, smoking is responsible for up to 80% of COPD-related deaths, and 38% of the nearly 16 million U.S. adults diagnosed with COPD report being current smokers. Exposure to smoking and secondhand smoke during childhood and teenage years can hinder lung growth and development, increasing the risk of developing COPD in adulthood. It’s important to seek help and quit smoking so that you live a long and healthy life. Reach out to your primary doctor for smoking cessation recourses and helpful tips.

A recent study, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, reveals that smoking contributes to 6,530 deaths each year. This finding underscores the urgency of addressing smoking-related issues, especially in the context of Minnesota’s tobacco flavor ban.

The ban on tobacco flavor is a proactive step to protect youth health, undercutting the appeal of smoking, and deterring the onset of a harmful behavior.

Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/copd.html

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