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COPD History: A Timeline of Smoking and Why It’s Not Your Fault…

28 Sep 2016
| Under COPD, Disease Education, Medical, Smoking | Posted by | 7 Comments
COPD History: A Timeline of Smoking and Why It’s Not Your Fault…

Smokers tend to get blamed for their habits. We believe there’s more to the story of COPD history.

In a nation where smoking rates continue to decline every year, it’s no surprise that the popularity of smoking has declined with it. As laws prohibiting smoking in public areas lead to ostracizing the behavior further from our culture, it seems the unhealthy ills of cigarette smoking have created a stigma of blame for those who succumb to lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other smoking-related illnesses. Unfortunately, the prevailing belief is that smokers have brought their health issues upon themselves and are afforded little sympathy. However, although lung disease treatment exists, the history of this generation of smokers is more complicated than many would like to believe.

With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to dispel the prevailing narrative of current smokers, and delve into COPD History: A Timeline of Smoking and Why It’s Not Your Fault.

COPD History- The Early Americas

Beginning in the lower Americas, tobacco was first discovered by the native peoples of Mesoamerica and South America before being introduced to the Europe and the rest of the world. Having been used for a while in the Americas, European settlers adopted the practice and quickly brought it back to Europe where it became immensely popular. Upon reaching the US, the cultivation of tobacco became essential to the economy of the original colonists as gold and silver became too scarce to trade with Native Americans.

During the 1700s tobacco became an intensely lucrative crop due to its high demand in Europe, leading to an accelerated value for tobacco within the American economy. All of this culminated into enormous growth within the tobacco industry that continued well into the 20th century until scientific discoveries regarding the health effects of smoking came to light.

COPD History- Health Decline within a Growing Economy

COPD History: A Timeline of Smoking and Why It’s Not Your Fault…

During this time, the UK and US saw an increase in lung cancer rates which picked up in the 1930s as the popularity of smoking began to increase. Beginning in the 20th century, the annual consumption in the US was 54 cigarettes per capita (with .5% of the population smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year), by 1965 the annual consumption in the US peaked at 4,459 per capita. At that time, 50% of men smoked, while 33% of women smoked.

COPD History- Popularity and Exposure

Given the economic boom of the tobacco industry, it cannot be understated just how pervasive cigarette advertising became during this time in American culture. As early as World War I, where the average soldier was in his early twenties, cigarettes (and their accompanied advertising) were packaged within army rations. In newspapers and magazines, cigarette ads were in full-page color-spreads. They were featured on television, cartoons, movies and radio. During this time of American life, it was virtually impossible to step outside or into the home without being exposed to smoking in some way, whether through a restaurant, a bar, public transportation, or even hospitals and planes.

COPD History- Today

With the help of anti-smoking organizations such as “Truth”, the harmful effects of cigarette smoke have been appropriately stigmatized. Smoking rates have consistently declined annually among adults and teens, and advancements in quitting through nicotine patches and gum have allowed many long-term smokers to quit the habit. However, with the knowledge of smoking and its harmful effects so universally understood, many have looked to blame the smoker’s themselves for the negative health effects they may suffer.

Although the harmful effects of smoking are preventable, the habitual and addictive nature of nicotine and cigarette smoking cannot be ignored—particularly for generations who grew up in an era where the lifestyle of smoking was so prominently featured. Quitting smoking is incredibly hard, and for those who have smoked since they were teenagers, having smoked for decades before the harmful effects of smoking were more wildly understood, any blame given to them for the suffering they feel today would be a nothing short of a gross lack of empathy.

Moving Forward…

COPD History: A Timeline of Smoking and Why It’s Not Your Fault…

It’s important to know the COPD history, so you can stay informed. Although COPD can seem insurmountable, the first step to living a longer life is finding a treatment that addresses the disease head-on. Changing one’s diet and consistently exercising are among the best lifestyle changes one can do aside from quitting smoking. However, if you’re looking to address COPD progression directly, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy. Rather than only addressing the symptoms of lung disease, stem cell therapy directly affects disease progression and can improve quality of life and pulmonary function. For people with lung disease, a change in quality of life could mean the difference between struggling to walk to the mailbox and riding a bike.

If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like ILD, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult stem cell treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy, and find out what stem cell therapy could mean for you.

Interested in our article on COPD History: A Timeline of Smoking and Why It’s Not Your Fault…Share your thoughts and comments below.


  1. PB

    3 weeks ago

    Dear Beth,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear about the challenges you have been facing with COPD and chronic bronchitis. Like you, many people with COPD experience difficulty breathing, walking and talking. While the best thing for anyone who currently smokes to do is to quit smoking, we understand how hard it can be to quit smoking. If you’re interested, we’ve put together a free smoking cessation guide to help people quit smoking and stay smoke-free. You can read it by clicking here. Thank you for sharing some of your story with us, and we wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Beth Dockery

    3 weeks ago

    I have state insurance or i would be contacting you I have COPD, chronic Bronchitis, everything you mentioned I pick up and inhale a cigarette my chest hurts badly feels like it’s going to explode but I keep smoking yes it was the thing to do back when I was 15 now 53. I can’t hardly walk ,talk,breath. It’s awful and our family has all died from cancer. A sister lung. Very frightening.

  3. PB

    4 weeks ago

    Dear Susan,

    Thanks for your comment and for sharing some of your story with us.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute.

  4. Susan cook

    4 weeks ago

    Yes I to have COPD and severe emphysema and grew up in an erra that cigarette smoking was the thing to do..made one feel glamorous or like a hunk for a man and for the young to feel all grown up..if I’d only know I’d never of picked up a cigarette. .if started when I was 17 because my friend told me I could lose weight by smoking..well it didn’t help that but I was hooked by then..this was back in the late 50s and early 60s..I quit about 3yr ago I did think I ever would but my lung Dr introduced me to the Nic a troll pipe looking thing..I forgot how it was spelled but it took me a good year to stop smoking using that product..I would of never quit with out something like that..because I was so addicted to cigarettes and always having something in my hands and thinking cigarettes kept me calm..I’ve learned that I can live better with out the cigarette in my hand ..and how much better it is with out the smoke and stink of them around me..plus which is a good plus I won’t be giving my hard earned money to the company’s that make them ..they are making a killing off of killing people now..the cost of them are just outrageous now days..I Remember when my mom bout a pack for 25 cents .. my husband got then for a dollar a carton off the Navy base while he was in the service in 1961

  5. kim harrison

    4 weeks ago

    It is hard on the entire family. I too get treated different than others who got sick from cigarette smoke. Because they quit and didnt get copd till later in life. But died from it. I had to find a way ti quit smoking or die faster. I did not think I would ever be able to quit. I felt very angry. And also became very depressed . I felt like a fool for smoking while on oxygen. But couldn’t quit. Well I kept saying the only way I could and the easiest way would be to be in a place you cant smoke. Well it happened I was put in the hospital and stayed for 12 days. March 10th of 2016 I quit smoking cigs. I do smoke the e cig but I can go up and down my stairs now. And have gained a few pounds. Dont guve up. Keep trying. The day will cone when you know its time and you will do it. I got mad at the cigarette companies and our fda and our gov. I said I wasn’t giving them more of my money to kill more people . It helped me more than just saying it was for my health. Lol anger can drive you sometimes in the right ways. Good Luck. Its hard road and I applaud everyone dealing with breathing problems cause of big money!!! Peace !

  6. Cameron Kennerly

    4 weeks ago

    Hello Kimmy,

    We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies for the difficulties you’ve encountered in your health. Thank you for sharing your experience, it can build a true sense of community for those who are going through similar struggles. Although we encourage you to quit smoking, please keep us updated on your progress and please continue to read our articles for natural tips and remedies to deal with the symptoms of COPD. If you have any questions about treatment or lifestyle changes to better your health, please reach out to us at (855) 313-1149.

    Thanks again for your comment Kimmy.


    -The Lung Institute

  7. kimmy smith

    4 weeks ago

    Yes we do get blame for the smoking,some people don’t understand…and I expect that..but it is reality,I’m a smoker and I to,watched many Comercial with smoking at the age of 13,I’m still smoking and have copd,and still smoke because I do not believe or won’t except that I have codp.I’m on 16 medication also due to depression ,and weight,sometimes I just want to give up..I been smoking for 4o years…I have major issues with all of this!!!!

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