COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a chronic respiratory disease that makes it hard to breathe. The main cause of COPD is tobacco smoking, although long-term exposure to other irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust can also contribute to the development of the disease.
Smoking is the most significant risk factor for COPD, accounting for up to 90% of all cases. The harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke can irritate and inflame the airways and lungs, causing damage over time. Other risk factors for COPD include genetics, exposure to secondhand smoke, and a history of respiratory infections.
It’s important to note that while smoking is the main cause of COPD, not all smokers develop the disease. Quitting smoking is the most effective way to prevent COPD or slow its progression, even for people who have smoked for many years.