The relatively new anti-smoking campaign put out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can potentially make a big impact on how Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease will continue to be the #3 cause of death among people in the United States, and #4 across the globe.
People have known that smoking is bad for you for a long time. Cigarettes were referred to as “coffin nails” as a slang term in the early 20th century, and smokers cough was a known problem, but yet people have been continually smoking, and the media has depicted beautiful people smoking in movies and in magazine ads.
In the 1960s, they finally discovered a connection between smoking and lung cancer, but as you can probably remember if you are old enough, this wasn't quite enough to stop people. This is also obvious, now that we know that COPD is in the top 3 killer diseases, and most cases of COPD are caused by smoking.
Most people know that tobacco smoke is generally “bad for you”, but they might not know the details about the damage it can cause. “I'm going to die from something” is what many people say when they are faced with quitting smoking before they develop COPD or one of the many other diseases know to be contributed to by smoking. While people can only make their own decisions, it's worth a try by presenting them with true stories of people who wish they could turn back the clock and stop smoking much sooner, so they could prevent their present health problems.
For example, one ad in the campaign tells the story of an Alaskan man named Micheal, a smoker since the age of 9, who was diagnosed with COPD when he was 44 and ignored it until the age of 52 when his symptoms became hard to deal with. He now requires a lung transplant because of the progression of the disease, even after having parts of his lungs removed.
It can be hard to say just how bad COPD can get, but health care providers know that age and how long you've smoked can give you a good guess as to your risk factor. Smoking from the age of 9 and then continuing to smoke long after diagnosis of COPD will definitely give you a bad prognosis.
Even with this in mind, you can't take for granted that you can just smoke for 20 years, quit, and then assume you will forever after have a clean bill of health. While quitting does make a big difference in how well you live later in life, you are still at a higher risk for developing many diseases as you age, COPD included, if you have smoked during your lifetime.
Besides telling medical horror stories about what can happen to you if you smoke, the CDC does offer tips for quitting from real people who have had to do it themselves. You can find those and other resources at the campaign's website, CDC.gov (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips).
Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information about COPD, talk to your doctor or primary care provider.