Exactly How Many Cigarettes Puts You at Risk for COPD?

If you only smoked for a few months of your life and quit, that's a great accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself. Many people have tried to quit many times and either couldn't go through with it, or they started up again later on. Even people who haven't smoked in years have started up again, because of a traumatic event in their lives, or they were spending a lot of time around people who smoked and couldn't help but light one up themselves. Quitting smoking is very hard, and this is a known fact.

Unfortunately, it's been proven that it doesn't take 20+ years of smoking to put you at risk for developing COPD. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease includes the lung diseases of Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis, and around 90% of the cases of COPD are caused by smoking tobacco. There are also plenty other risks caused by smoking, such as lung cancer, heart failure, strokes and heart disease.

How many people die because of cigarettes?

In fact, experts say that it only takes about 100 cigarettes in your life to put you at a considerable risk for COPD. COPD is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States, so cigarettes are actually responsible for killing more people per year than anything else that can be prevented. However, even if you've smoked well over 100 cigarettes, quitting now will still decrease your chances of developing COPD. It's also a fact that many people have COPD at the moment, and don't realize it. If you are over the age of 45 and you've been smoking, you should consider quitting. The risk of COPD also increases with age.

What happens after just 100 cigarettes?

When you've smoked cigarettes only a few times in your life, your lungs have already taken damage and the cells in your lungs have already taken an impact. Your lungs have taken in the toxins found in cigarette smoke, along with the tar and nicotine. After 100 cigarettes, your lungs have been irritated and you'll notice that you're lungs are producing more mucous than before. If you've been smoking for a while you decide to quit, you can stop the progression of the lung irritation before it becomes something much more serious. There is no guarantee, however, that you will never have COPD.

I've never smoked. Can I still develop COPD?

It's also been proven that 25% of people who have never smoked will develop COPD. How can this be? If you've never smoked a cigarette, you may have been around many people during your life who were smoking, and so you've inhaled a lot of second hand smoke. Secondhand smoke can be even more dangerous than smoking one yourself, because a big portion of the smoke you've inhaled was not inhaled through a filter. If you had a lot of friends who were smokers and spent a lot of time with them while they smoked, this will likely be the cause.

Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information about COPD, talk to your doctor or primary care provider.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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