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How do you get COPD?

COPD is caused by long–term exposure of the lungs to something harmful to them and is the result of permanent damage.1

Common causes1,2

COPD is usually caused by smoking, and unfortunately passive smoking (inhaling someone else’s cigarette smoke) can cause it too.

Toxic Fumes
Air pollution

It can also be caused by exposure to air pollution, or by inhaling dust or fumes at work.

These aren’t the only causes, but they are the most common.1

There may also be a genetic component to someone’s risk of developing COPD, as it often runs in families. A rare genetic condition called alpha-1-antitrypsin can also make people susceptible to developing COPD very early.

Approval code: UK/RESP/17/0032x(1)

Date of preparation: January 2020

  1. COPD: Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. British Lung Foundation. Last accessed: January 2020.
  2. Global strategy for the diagnosis. management. and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 2020 report. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. Last accessed: January 2020.

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