Quitting smoking can help your lungs heal, and over time, it will have a positive effect on your COPD symptoms. If you keep smoking, your COPD could progress faster.

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Not every person who smokes develops chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and not every person who has COPD is a smoker.

However, many people with COPD have a history of smoking. The American Lung Association reports that 75% of all COPD cases are caused by smoking.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking accounts for up to 8 out of 10 COPD-related deaths.

If you have COPD and you smoke, quitting smoking will benefit your overall health. Getting information from your doctor, attending counseling sessions, and taking medications can help.

If you smoke and are diagnosed with COPD, it’s natural to feel a range of emotions like discouragement, anger, or depression. The damage to your lungs has already been done, so you may think there’s no point in quitting. You may even believe that smoking won’t make any difference now.

Although understandable, this reasoning is far from the truth. Even if you have COPD, you can still benefit from quitting.

Stopping smoking is the only way to slow the progression of COPD. Also, your lungs can heal after quitting smoking, and it can also help you avoid serious flare-ups.

COPD flare-ups are frightening and dangerous. They can lead to adverse outcomes, such as hospitalization, treatment failure, and even death. It’s vital to do everything in your power to avoid them. That includes disposing of your cigarettes, pipes, and cigars.

If you’re a smoker with COPD, you can improve your health by putting your cigarettes away for good.

According to statistics reported by the CDC for 2015, nearly 68% adult U.S. smokers wanted to quit. However, many have difficulty actually kicking the habit.

Several strategies, such as the following, may help you quit for good.

Healthcare professional intervention

This type of intervention is a brief, fairly casual conversation with your nurse or doctor. They calmly explain how smoking interacts with your health problems to lower your quality of life. They’ll also point out how smoking puts you at risk of life threatening complications.

People who’ve had this type of interaction have a small but significant advantage when it comes to quitting smoking.

If you want to quit, ask your doctor about the benefits of stopping smoking and the risks of continuing. Learning the facts may give you the motivation you need to become tobacco-free.

Group counseling

Group counseling gives you the best of both worlds. You can listen to experienced speakers who offer advice and techniques for quitting and managing relapses and receive support from others in your shoes. Seeing others in your group successfully stop smoking can help strengthen your resolve.

If group counseling doesn’t appeal to you, ask your doctor about one-on-one counseling options. The CDC offers free help through a helpline (800-QUIT-NOW or 800-784-8669).


The most popular medication regimens for people who want to stop smoking are nicotine replacement therapies. These help you manage withdrawal symptoms and control cravings. You can get nicotine replacement from chewing gum, skin patches, lozenges, and sprays.

If the replacement therapy isn’t helping, consider talking with a doctor about adding an antidepressant. This combined therapy has helped some people quit.

Cold turkey

Some people have been able to quit smoking without medications or support groups. The cold turkey approach can work, but you have a better chance of succeeding if you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Whether you use counseling or medications or try to quit cold turkey, these tips can help:

  • Set a “quit date” and stick to it.
  • Avoid stressful situations or situations that lead to cravings.
  • Expect withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, depression, and food cravings. Plan how you will handle the symptoms and remember they won’t last forever.
  • Make a list of what you want from life. It’s not enough to simply stop a behavior. For lasting change to occur, it’s essential to replace an adverse behavior with a healthier one.
  • Seek support from friends and family. Turn to them when you feel close to relapse.
  • Surround yourself with people you trust and who will give you support. Support others who are trying to quit.

Learn more about ways to stop smoking.

Giving up a longtime habit like cigarette smoking isn’t fun or easy, but it can significantly slow the progression of COPD and enhance your quality of life.

Speak with your doctor about quitting. Ask them about the benefits of stopping tobacco use and the risks of continuing. They can also give you information about smoking cessation support, such as counseling services and medications.

Recruit your friends and family members to support you. Avoiding tobacco will get easier with time.