My sister started smoking in her early 20s. She thought it would help her lose weight. Knowingly or unknowingly, that decision opened the door for her lifelong battle with cigarette addiction. Years later, when she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), she was still unable to conquer the powerful pull to smoke “just one more cigarette.”
Watching her struggle for every breath in her last years was difficult. According to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals — many that are toxic to our air passages. Over time, the normal in-and-out breathing many of us take for granted becomes more and more difficult for a person with COPD.
Noxious particles in cigarette smoke also weaken the body’s defenses against infections. My sister had all the classic symptoms: chronic cough, shortness of breath and frequent colds, flus and sinus infections.
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