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Does Smoking Cause Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

Does Smoking Cause Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

It’s a well-known fact that smoking is hazardous to health, but many individuals still aren’t fully aware of the severity of damage it can cause to the respiratory system. In this article, we’ll delve into the link between smoking and two prevalent respiratory diseases – Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Discover the significant correlation between smoking and respiratory diseases like Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Learn about the health risks associated with smoking and how it can cause and exacerbate these conditions

Understanding Asthma and COPD

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. This condition is due to inflammation of the air passages in the lungs and affects the sensitivity of the nerve endings in the airways.

COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), on the other hand, is a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD progressively worsens over time, making it harder for individuals to breathe.

The Effect of Smoking on Asthma and COPD

Research consistently reveals a strong correlation between smoking and the prevalence of both Asthma and COPD. Let’s take a closer look at how smoking triggers these diseases.

Smoking and Asthma

While asthma can have various triggers ranging from allergens to physical exercise, smoking is considered a significant risk factor. Here are some ways smoking impacts asthma:

  • Inflammation and irritation: Cigarette smoke irritates the airways causing them to become swollen, narrow and filled with sticky mucus — the same conditions that trigger an asthma flare-up.
  • Increased severity: Smokers with asthma have more frequent and severe attacks, which can be life-threatening.
  • Medication ineffectiveness: Smoking can lessen the effectiveness of asthma medications by altering the way they work.

“If you have asthma, it’s vital that you avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Even if you’re not a smoker, passive smoking can increase your risk of asthma attacks and exacerbate respiratory symptoms.”American Lung Association

Smoking and COPD

COPD is primarily caused by smoking. It can progressively damage your lungs over many years before symptoms become noticeable.

  • Lung damage: Smoking damages the air sacs, airways, and the lining of your lungs. Injured lungs lead to the development of emphysema, a type of COPD, making it hard for you to breathe.
  • Chronic bronchitis: Continued smoking can cause chronic bronchitis, another form of COPD. It leads to constant coughing, shortness of breath, and frequent respiratory infections.
  • Progression and severity: The progression of COPD is faster in smokers than non-smokers. Additionally, smokers with COPD have a higher risk of developing lung cancer.

“Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Over time, exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways can cause COPD. The primary irritant that causes COPD is tobacco smoke.”Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


There is an irrefutable link between smoking and respiratory diseases, including asthma and COPD. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk and slow the progression of these diseases. If you are a smoker, seek assistance in smoking cessation programs. For non-smokers, it’s essential to avoid secondhand smoke. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

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