Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
This chapter reviews studies on the link between smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cigarette smoking is the dominant cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for both men and women. Changes in the lungs of smokers can be demonstrated within a few years of beginning to smoke. By the age 25–34 years, evidence of functional loss is evident in populations of heavy-smokers. The risks of developing ventilatory impairment and of dying of COPD increase with increasing number of cigarettes smoked per day and increased duration of smoking. Cessation of smoking alters the rate of lung function decline and risk of dying from COPD, but the benefits of cessation are greatest when cessation can be achieved early before substantial lung injury has occurred.
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