Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Can Secondhand Smoke Cause COPD?

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 09:47 AM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: My mother has been diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) but she has never smoked. However, my dad is a heavy smoker. Is it unusual for a person to get COPD from a family member’s second-hand smoke?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
Secondhand smoke exposure can predispose people to COPD. This is an unfortunate and too common effect seen from a family member's smoking. Be sure your mother has been screened for emphysema (a form of COPD) in non-smokers.
Exposure to silicates, fine particulates like dirt or fiberglass particles, inhaled irritants, coal dust and polluted air can also cause COPD. In addition, untreated asthma can cause airway scarring and damage, that later in life may become COPD.

Be sure your mother has had a full pulmonary evaluation, including a lung function test with and without a bronchodilator, to be sure she has

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