If someone has never seen an oxygen concentrator before, they will likely be very curious about it. Sometimes, because of a lack of understanding and/or knowledge, someone might look at it and think that you have some sort of communicable disease, or assume that you only brought it on yourself with years and years of smoking. People who think this way are simple misinformed and it might help them understand if you are educated enough to explain it to them.
This is Why I Need Oxygen...
Not all chronic diseases or conditions that use oxygen therapy were caused by smoking cigarettes. Even though most cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD are caused by tobacco smoke (more than 80% approximately), sometimes it is caused by general poor air quality in the area in which you were living for much of your life. You might also explain that not everyone who smokes will need oxygen therapy during their life, and some people also have COPD and do not need oxygen therapy, they only need to take medications to help them breathe.
The main reason you need to use oxygen therapy is because your lungs cannot bring in enough oxygen and release the carbon dioxide, which is a normal function for healthy lungs, and something many people take for granted. It happens constantly, every time you breathe, and your blood is constantly exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide through the tiny air sacs in your lungs.
Because of this, your blood is lacking the right amount of oxygen it needs, which means your whole body isn't getting enough oxygen. Your brain and your heart are the parts of your body that are in trouble the most when you aren't getting enough oxygen, and they are the other two main organs that work to keep you alive and healthy.
An oxygen concentrator works by bringing in the oxygen from the air around you, and filters a more pure concentration of oxygen so that you can breathe it in. If you are breathing in around 90% oxygen, you will be much more able to bring in the amount of oxygen your cells need.
What You Should Know...
Besides smoking, genetics and not leading a healthy lifestyle are the other reasons someone would end up needing oxygen therapy. Cystic fibrosis and chronic fatigue would be other reasons for using oxygen therapy, as well as asthma and lung cancer. If you have a family history of any of these conditions, you should get be extra careful to stay healthy and check with your doctor on a regular basis.
If someone is smoking, they need to stop as soon as they can, or if someone has never smoked, they should never start. People have to understand just how much damage smoking can cause, even only after a few years of smoking, or social smoking. Not only does smoking cause numerous types of cancer, but it causes damage to the air sacs in the lungs, which causes COPD and the need for oxygen therapy.