Wed, Nov 18, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Smokers urged to quit on COPD Day

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

On the eve of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day, civic health groups, artists and physicians yesterday said that it is not too late to quit smoking.

Taiwan Society of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine director Yu Chung-jen (余忠仁) said that patients who suffer from COPD may develop swollen lungs that are inflexible and have holes in them, like a loofah, and they suffer from frequent coughing, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

Yu said about 90 percent of cases of COPD are associated with smoking, but about 40 percent of COPD patients continue to smoke.

The John Tung Foundation said its telephone survey of more than 6,000 adults above 40 years old indicated that while the prevalence of COPD is about 2.1 percent, about 4 percent of people are experiencing chronic coughing, tightness of the chest and other symptoms, as well as 3.5 percent of people with a smoking history of more than 20 years — both high-risk groups for COPD.

Based on WHO statistics there are approximately 210 million people with COPD around the world and about 3 million people die due to COPD every year, the foundation said.

Sun Yue (孫越), a celebrity who is a volunteer anti-smoking activist at the foundation, said he smoked for 37 years before he quit 30 years ago, but that he still suffers from COPD and was diagnosed with a lung tumor in 2007.

Changhua Christian Hospital physician Lin Ching-hsiung (林慶雄) said people over 40 years old with a smoking history, a family history of COPD or who are often exposed to air pollution should have pulmonary function tests regularly.

The Health Promotion Administration said COPD can be prevented, but cannot be totally cured, so quitting smoking is critical to preventing the disease. Because many smokers are not aware of COPD, only about 2 to 3 percent seek medical treatment.

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