Barbara Bush Stopped Smoking 50 Years
Ago--- Why Did She Still Get COPD?

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April 16, 2018

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by Registered Nurses,
Certified fitness professionals and other members of our Editorial
Board]













The year is 1968, a pivotal year in the history of America.
Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were
assassinated and the nation was gripped with riots and
fear. On a personal level, a young 43 year-old Barbara
Bush was in a hospital in Houston for a procedure and
suddenly craved a cigarette.  As she wrote in her
memoir,

"
I had been a smoker since age 18 and knew I should quit
but never did. A few months earlier, I had gone into the
hospital for a small procedure and woke up several times
in the middle of the night alone. I remember really wanting
a cigarette, and although I was still groggy from the
medication and had an IV in my arm, I made it into a chair
and lit up.
"

At that point, a young nurse surprised Barbara as she came
into the room. The nurse took Barbara to task, scolding her
about the dangers of smoking.

It was then and there that Barbara Bush, wife of a young
Congressman who would one day become President, made
a life-changing decision. She decided to quit smoking.

In fact, she became something of an evangelical in the
cause against the dangers of smoking, reminding anyone
who would listen that they had to quit or else. She became
expert at rattling off the list of health problems smoking
caused.

You May Finish with Smoking But Smoking May Not Be
Finished with You


Though Mrs. Bush quit cigarette smoking 50 years ago, the
damage appeared to linger. And though she had finished
smoking, smoking had not finished with her. At least, it
appears that smoking is the culprit for the latest report
coming from the press secretary to former President
George H.W. Bush, announcing that Barbara Bush, age 93,
is suffering from heart failure and COPD, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease.  

For the past few years, Mrs. Bush, outside the public eye,
has had to use an oxygen tank.


Since Barbara Bush smoked from the age of 18 until 1968,
she smoked for a total of 25 years of her life. What is your
risk for developing COPD if you have smoked for over 10
years, 20 years or 30 years?



The Longer You Smoke The Higher Your Risk for COPD






























In 2015, a group of scientists from some of the world's
foremost research centers collaborated to find out the
relationship between the amount of time a person smokes
and the risk of developing COPD. The group included
scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, in Atlanta, Ga, the Division of Pulmonary,
Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Duke University School
of Medicine, Wake Forest University, University of Arizona,
University of Kentucky and Medical University of South
Carolina.

The scientists looked at data from 4,135 over the age of 45
who had smoked for varying lengths of time.

The scientists divided the group according to the length
they had smoked, from 0 to 9 years, from 9 to 19 years,
from 20 to 29 years, and over 30 years.

Plotting this against the incidence of COPD, they discovered
that 25.6% of those who smoked over 30 years developed  
COPD.

Moreover, 25.0% of those studied had a chronic cough
which produced mucous, 11.2% had chronic
shortness of
breath, 16.7% "strongly agreed that shortness of breath
affected physical activity".


Here is the breakdown of the rates of COPD depending on
years of smoking, extracted from the data reported in the
study:

1. For those who smoked over 30 years, 25.6% developed
COPD

2. For those who smoked between 20 and 29 years, 12.8%
developed COPD.

3. For those who smoked between 10 and 19 years, 8.5%
developed COPD.

4.For those who smoked between 1 and 9 years, 7.6%
developed COPD.


As you can see, there is a strong increase in risk for COPD
the longer you smoke.

And this elevated risk continues even after you stop,
hovering over your life. A total of 8.6% of people who
managed to quit smoking for more than 10 years still
developed COPD.


We Still Have a Long Way to Go to Reduce Smoking Rates

Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, the rate of
smoking in the US actually is declining. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 1965,
42.4% of adults smoked.

That rate has steadily declined over the years. As of 2014,
16.8% of adults smoked, a drop of 60.7%. That is an
impressive performance as a nation but we still have a long
way to go. Too many teenagers are smoking, about 16%.
And those who smoke continue to expose many of their
family members and co-workers to secondhand smoke.

COPD is a progressive disease that costs our health care
system $50 billion per year, according to a 2013 study from
the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy and
Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, TN.

















































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