Second-hand smoke likely can cause lung disease: physician
Persons who inhale secondhand smoke may have a greater likelihood of getting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a common lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.
Smoking is a main cause of COPD, but there has been a recent uptick in cases of non-smokers who are diagnosed with the disease, according to Wang Chinchou, director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
Most of the patients had been exposed to an environment with second-hand smoke, Wang said.
Wang cited the example of a 60-year-old woman visited a physician for what she believed was asthma. The clinic ruled out the possibility and found out that she had function in half of her kidney. The woman had been exposed to second-hand smoke for a protracted period of time through her husband, he said.
Wang said nearly 10 percent of his patients seek help because their immune systems are affected second-hand smoke.
Over the past few years, the number of patients with lung disease caused by second-hand smoke has been on the rise, he said.
Besides cigarette smoke, PM2.5 aerosols are another cause of COPD, Wang added.
Doctors recommend that COPD patients stop smoking, eliminate second-hand smoke, avoid access to areas with high aerosol concentrations and wear surgical masks when outdoors.