Respiratory Disease caused by smoking kill more than 480,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, smoking is directly responsible for almost 90% of lung cancer and COPD deaths.

What risks are linked to smoking?

Smokers have an increased risk of lung disease, including lung cancer. But they also increase their risk for other illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and oral cancer.

Risks from smoking, as they relate to respiratory disease, include the following:

  1. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a long-term (chronic) inflammation of the large airways and causes coughing mucus over a long period.
  2.  Emphysema, which is a chronic lung condition affecting the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue, sleep and heart problems, weight loss, and depression.
  3. Lung cancer: This is an abnormal growth of cells resulting in masses, or tumors. It may start in the lining of the bronchi, or other areas of the respiratory system. Smoking, including secondhand smoke, is the leading cause of lung cancer. 

What are the benefits of quitting smoking?

Respiratory Disease.ent

Respiratory Disease


Some of the lung damage can actually be reversed once one quits smoking. Benefits of quitting smoking may include the following:

  • Risk for lung disease is Decreased
  • Ameliorates risk for heart disease
  • Decreased risk for cancer
  • Improved smell and taste


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  • American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society Task Force. Standards for the diagnosis and management of patients with COPD [Internet]. Version 1.2. New York: American Thoracic Society; 2004. [accessed: April 13, 2007]