LONDON, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) — Smoking is the biggest preventable risk factor for serious lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the Public Health England (PHE) warned on Tuesday.
COPD is the umbrella term for serious lung conditions that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways and destruction of lung tissue.
Figures show that approximately 25,000 people die each year from COPD in England, and smoking is a major cause of these deaths.
Smokers can often dismiss the early signs of COPD as a "smoker’s cough", but if they continue smoking and the condition worsens, it can greatly impact on their quality of life, according to the PHE.
Large numbers of people with COPD are unable to participate in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, housework or gardening, the PHE said.
The single best thing a smoker can do to reduce their chances of developing this devastating disease and prolong their life, is to stop smoking, said Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer.