The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Fact: You Don’t Have To Smoke To Have COPD

29 Dec 2014
| Under COPD, Lifestyle | Posted by | 2 Comments
Lung Disease: Can I Get COPD If I've Never Smoked? Lung Institute

Smoking May Not Be The Only Cause…

Suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can lead to some pretty nasty business for your lungs. COPD is basically a disease that never stops growing; it will be with a person for the rest of their life. This chronic lung disease ranges from mild to severe and is characterized by the restriction of airflow in and out of the lungs. It reduces a person’s lung function and can make breathing that much more difficult.

Now, COPD is usually caused from the ongoing process of smoking. Overtime, the chemicals found in cigarettes damage the lungs and other vital organs. Let’s stop right there though! While smoking is the main culprit for COPD, there are plenty of other ways to bring on the symptoms of this deadly disease. There are many ways you could get COPD even if you’ve never smoked before!

Other Causes Behind COPD

As we mentioned before, smoking is usually the contributing factor in developing COPD, which is an umbrella term for both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In fact, smoking makes up about 85 percent of all cases of COPD. No doubt your next question is this, what about the other 15 percent?

Believe it or not, breathing in certain chemicals can lead to the occurrence of COPD. Breathing in constant secondhand smoke from cigarettes or e-cigarettes plays a big role in some people developing this disease. Secondhand smoke is the direct smoke that comes from a cigarette, and if constantly exposed to this, the chances for COPD become much higher. Breathing in chemical fumes, dust or even other air pollutants can contribute to the onset of COPD. Working or living in certain environments makes an impact as well.

Some of the causes for developing COPD are very rare! Probably the least common way to get COPD is if your family has a history of the disease. Yes, COPD can be hereditary. This is due in part to a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. People with this genetic condition have a very low amount of a protein that is made in the liver, which has led to some patients being diagnosed with COPD. Another way to get COPD, although uncommon, is if there has been a history of asthma. If not treated properly, asthma has been shown to slowly become COPD over time.

Of course, if you are a patient suffering from COPD, then stem cell therapy could be for you! If you would like to find out more about our available treatment options, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.


  1. Steve Howell

    1 year ago

    Hi, Robin. Stem cell therapy can be effective for lung conditions resulting from alpha 1 and may improve lung function. However, stem cell therapy is not considered a treatment for alpha 1 itself.

  2. robin allan

    1 year ago

    does this work with alpha 1

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