Does smoking increase my risk for emphysema?

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The main defining factor of COPD is less airflow to the lungs because of an obstruction or blockage within the airways. This obstruction often gets worse over time, and your lungs stop working as well as they should. Breathing normally becomes more difficult or even impossible.

Smoking is the main risk factor for developing COPD. About 90% of all deaths from COPD can be linked to cigarette smoking. Quitting slows down the decline in lung function, allowing the lungs to function more like the lungs of a nonsmoker. This lowers your risk of COPD, including the emphysema subtype.
Smoking increases your risk of having emphysema or chronic bronchitis, also referred to as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This disease worsens over time and can be fatal. It causes much disability; in the advanced stages, the person may require continuous low level oxygen. 
 
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
Absolutely.  Emphysema is a problem where your lungs get very expanded and the architecture of the lungs themselves become less dense so that makes it harder for them to work.  They become stiff and harder for you to breathe out oxygen so that is truly a problem.  When you see people walking around with oxygen and they are older they probably smoked and have emphysema.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Absolutely.  It is hard to get emphysema without smoking or high particle addiction such as pollution or high particle exposure such as addiction to the same type of particles that smoking emits.
Joseph I. Miller Jr., MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Smoking dramatically increases the risk for all lung disease. These include bronchitis and emphysema.  Smoking is the number one cause of emphysema.  5/6 individuals with emphysema are former smokers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.