Three adult male silhouettes. Two smoking. Lungs showing on all.

COPD Through the Years

Last updated: July 2022

There is much to learn about COPD. I wonder if, in one lifetime, we can know all there is to know about it?

Imagine what it would be like if every doctor knew what COPD was and how to diagnose it earlier to begin treatment sooner. Medical science, with its limited funding, is looking for the reason for COPD because once they know the "why" of COPD, they will be better able to find a cure for COPD.

Tobacco use grew in popularity

Looking back in history, smoking was never as prevalent a fashion as it was at the beginning of the 20th century. Doctors did not know about the impact this constant use of tobacco would have on day-to-day living.

Not only did those that consume tobacco suffer, but the residual pollution was inhaled as second-hand smoke by anyone in the vicinity. Hairdressers and waitresses were hit hard by COPD after standing over smoking clients for so many years.

Those that started smoking usually slimmed down a bit, and especially women continued smoking to stay that way. Not many paid attention to the long-term effects because money was being made hand over fist, and tobacco companies became thriving powerhouses.

Smoking used to be the norm

By mid-century, so many people were smoking, and I remember it being accepted everywhere. Doctors are just beginning to understand the dangers of a lifelong addiction to tobacco. They lobbied governments to put scary pictures on packages of cigarettes depicting what can happen as a result of smoking.

Largely people ignored the warnings or found ways to cover them up. As we moved into the ’70s and ’80s, smoking seemed to increase in popularity among teens and younger adults, and quit smoking campaigns were weak, and people didn’t listen.

Picking up the habit of smoking

That was a long time ago when my kids were babies. I quit smoking in the mid-eighties while pregnant with my daughter. Then one day, a long time later and out of the blue, my girlfriend asked if I wanted one.

For some reason, I said yes. The next thing I knew, I was smoking again. I have never been sure why because I didn’t even have a craving for it. I didn’t intend to start smoking again, but at the time, I simply didn’t think much of it.

The COVID crisis could have taught us what the impact those with minimal lung function can have on society at large.

I hope that people will start to realize the effect that increasing lung disease will have on the future health care system and that there will be future funding for research because COPD could have the power to stunt hospitals with overcrowding.

Advocate for those with COPD

As a person with COPD, you are the expert in the field. Have your voice heard and your opinion accounted for by sending letters to provincial or state governments or whoever has the power to designate funding?

Let them know that research dollars for lung health matter to you.

So, can we know all there is to know about COPD in one lifetime? Maybe, if your voice is heard.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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