Using supplemental oxygen can be a life-saving therapy for many people. However, with the benefits comes responsibilities to using your machine safely. One of the most dangerous activities you can do around oxygen is smoking. The reason oxygen is so dangerous is because while normal air has 21 percent oxygen, supplemental oxygen can deliver up 90 percent pure oxygen, which can create an environment where fires can easily ignite and burn very quickly.
By now, we all know the risks of smoking tobacco. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any easier, even for those who truly desire to quit smoking. You might have the mentality that you've already been smoking for so long, that the damage has already been done. You might not see the point in quitting.
Even though you may still develop health problems years after you've quit smoking, there are still a lot of benefits of quitting, no matter how long you've been smoking. In fact, it's amazing how quickly your body gets better once you've quit smoking.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. The results of a 2009 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine making it even more clear. Based on the numbers and what experts already know, the numbers could very well be even higher. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps a close eye and reports their estimates of tobacco-related deaths, as well as views of the total economic cost. The one view that they pay considerably less attention to is the overall health burden it puts on the large part of the population that smokes.
The CDC's estimates in 2000 reported that the total number of medical conditions caused by smoking was 12.7 million – out of 8.6 million people. That means that some of those 8.6 million people had multiple diseases attributable to smoking.
A study published on June 22nd in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal found that a number of smokers who may have COPD is more significant than previously thought. Due to the nature of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease many people in its beginning stages do not realize that they have it. Usually, the disease does not become apparent until its apparent symptoms such as shortness of breath or coughing cannot be ignored.
According to this study, conducted at National Jewish Health in Denver, around 1 million smokers in the United States already have the beginning stage of COPD, even though a lung function test may find normal lung function.
We always encourage questions about using oxygen therapy equipment, especially when it comes to safety. No question is a bad question, so always feel free to contact us! The following question is a good one since it has to do with oxygen and fire safety.
“I'm having a very hard time quitting smoking since I was diagnosed with COPD and put on oxygen. I was already under a lot of stress, and my diagnosis just made it worse. I've tried several methods for quitting without much luck yet, and I've heard that I shouldn't smoke while using my oxygen concentrator because oxygen helps the fire to spread. I was wondering if it would be safe to smoke if I go outside while using my portable oxygen concentrator.” – Name Withheld
It's a popular myth that because you don't inhale the smoke from cigars, that they are safer than cigarettes when it comes to lung function and the threat of lung diseases. You might think it's okay to move on to cigars, if you've been diagnosed with COPD, because of this myth. In lieu of a recent medical study done on those over the age of 60, this is definitely not the case. More lung function can actually be lost if you smoke cigars.
In this study conducted in 2010, the lung function of 3,528 people was monitored. All of the participants were at risk for cardiovascular diseases, and most of them were in their mid 60s. Seventy-two percent of them smoked tobacco, 9% of which smoked a pipe, 11% smoked cigars and the remaining 52% smoked cigarettes.
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.
Electronic cigarettes are a fairly new invention to help making quitting smoking a little easier. Anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows exactly how hard it can be, even for people who desperately want to quit. Nicotine, which is the addictive substance in cigarettes, releases a chemical in the brain known as dopamine, which is also know as the reward response and the reason why we become dependent on substances. Your body and mind think that they need tobacco smoke to be okay, and to function properly.
Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, but in smaller amounts and do not release toxic substances into your lungs. They give you the same feeling as smoking a cigarette, because you go through the same motions as when you would put a cigarette to your lips and inhale something, only this time, it's a water vapor instead of toxin-filled smoke.
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.
It's true that quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for yourself, no matter how you old you are, or whether or not you have already been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, the two diseases that are classified under the term Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. If you've been smoking for years or even decades, if you quit smoking, you will see a quick change in your breathing and in how well you feel overall.
If you have been diagnosed with COPD, one of the first things your doctor will tell you is you need to quit smoking if you haven't already. Some people might feel that since they've been smoking for so long, quitting smoking won't have make any difference. They might need to use oxygen therapy every day, but once they are done using their oxygen concentrator, they light up another cigarette. The notion that quitting smoking will not have any effect on their current condition isn't true. Even after diagnosis, quitting smoking will slow and even stop the progression of the disease.
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