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Smoking is the biggest risk factor for COPD, so not starting at all or stopping immediately is the best way to protect against the disease. If you have already been diagnosed, quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to help control your disease and prevent further damage to your lungs.

Passive smoking also is a risk factor. Non-smokers should avoid situations in which they will be exposed to the tobacco smoke of others. This is especially important for children, particularly those with asthma.

Children who have been exposed to tobacco smoke in the womb are at higher risk for developing the condition. Thus, for the health of their babies, mothers should not smoke during pregnancy.

Last reviewed on 11/9/09

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