Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease


This includes if you currently smoke, have smoked in the past, or are exposed to passive smoking. While not everybody who smokes gets COPD, most people who have COPD have smoked at some point in life. If you have COPD and are still smoking, the best thing you can do to slow the progress of the disease and increase the effectiveness of treatment is to quit. You don’t have to do this alone. Visit our Quit Smoking page for more information and support.

Environmental factors

COPD can also occur in people who have had long term exposure and contact with harmful pollutants such as dust, gas, chemical fumes, smoke or air pollution.


Genetics can also play a role in the development of COPD, even if you have never smoked or been exposed to pollutants. A small number of people have a form of emphysema caused by a protein disorder called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD). This is where the body finds it difficult to produce one of the proteins (Alpha-1) which protects the lungs. Read more about Alpha-1.