Smoking is the Main Cause of Various Incurable Diseases.

Because smoke is inhaled into the lungs and its components are deposited there, smoking has long been linked to adverse effects on the respiratory system. Smoking causes malignant and nonmalignant diseases, exacerbates chronic lung diseases, and increases the risk for respiratory infections.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. It is a serious, sometimes fatal lung disease with no known cure. COPD includes several underlying lung diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis in which the airways are damaged and cannot properly heal. People with COPD suffer from shortness of breath, coughing, difficulty exercising, swollen airways, scar tissue, and death.


Asthma is a serious breathing disorder that may be caused or worsened by smoking. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma attacks, and smoking exacerbates asthma in adult smokers.

In addition to asthma, COPD and other diseases, the World Health Organization has concluded that smoking also increases the likelihood of contracting and dying from tuberculosis.

Click here to learn more about smoking and your respiratory health (page 10).