Smoking is a major cause of respiratory disease as it is harmful to the lungs, as well as other organs. Examples of the diseases include COPD, asthma, and bronchitis.
This article explores some statistics about smoking, and the five main respiratory diseases that smoking can cause, including their prevalence, symptoms, and treatment for these conditions.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of long-term conditions that cause breathing difficulties.
COPD is a common respiratory disease, affecting
Common symptoms of COPD include:
However, a person with COPD may experience a broad spectrum of symptoms, ranging from no symptoms at all to more severe cases with respiratory failure.
People should consult a doctor to receive a diagnosis and treatment based on their symptoms.
COPD is a lifelong condition. When left untreated, it is a major cause of death worldwide. However, with the right resources, it is manageable. The main goals of treatment are:
- control symptoms
- improve quality of life
- minimize exacerbations
- reduce mortality
Treatment plans will vary slightly between individuals. However,
- inhaled corticosteroids
- systemic glucocorticoids
- phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitors
People with COPD have an
Chronic bronchitis affects 3–7% of adults but 74% of people with COPD. It is most common in people who smoke or have exposure to smoke.
The main symptoms of chronic bronchitis are:
The main methods of pharmaceutical treatment for chronic bronchitis are as follows:
- antibiotic therapy
- phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors
Emphysema has affected more than 3 million people in the United States.
It may take years before emphysema symptoms become noticeable. When they do, they generally include:
There is no cure for emphysema. However, the following treatments can help when managing symptoms:
Approximately 225,000 people in the United States receive a lung cancer diagnosis every year, and the condition causes around 160,000 deaths yearly.
There are no specific signs or symptoms of lung cancer. Most people are unaware that they have the condition until the late stages.
Around 50–75% of people present with a cough. Direct symptoms can result from where the tumor is sitting in the lungs, for example, if it is pressing against a different body part.
Other symptoms include:
- hemoptysis (coughing up blood) — present in 15–30% of people
- chest pain — present in 20–40% of people
- dyspnea — present in 25–40% of people
- Stage 1: Surgery may be an option for people at the start.
- Stage 2–3: These stages will involve chemotherapy with radiotherapy.
- Stage 4: The focus is more on alleviating symptoms and prolonging life.
A doctor can determine which stage of cancer a person has and provide a suitable treatment plan.
The longer people smoke, the greater their chance of developing respiratory diseases. However, quitting can have benefits at any point in life.
Quitting smoking can immediately improve the body’s condition.
- blood pressure lowers
- lung capacity increases
- they cough less
- they produce less phlegm
In the long term, quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease. Ultimately, people have a lower chance of developing respiratory diseases if they quit smoking.
How to quit?
Resources providing information to help people quit smoking are available from the
There are medications for easing away from smoking and reducing nicotine dependence. However, research from
Additionally, people in the United States can dial the following number for free support when quitting smoking: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Exposure to cigarette smoke in any capacity can have harmful consequences.
Secondhand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke, still causes people to inhale the toxins from tobacco. As a result, secondhand smoking
- respiratory diseases
- heart disease
According to the WHO, over
Other than smoking, causes of respiratory diseases can include infection and exposure to the following toxins:
A person should consult a doctor if they suspect they have had exposure to any of the above or any other toxins. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential for improved outcomes.
The outlook is considerably higher for people with respiratory diseases if they have stopped smoking.
Quitting can have benefits at any age. However,
Smoking is a major cause of illness, including COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer, and asthma. There is a range of symptoms and specific treatments depending on the type of respiratory disease a person develops.
However, quitting smoking also reduces the risk of a respiratory disease developing or worsening.