People who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, are less likely to be hospitalized for breathing problems if they live in an area where local laws prohibit smoking in public spaces including bars, restaurants and offices, a new study shows.
“Kentuckians with COPD that live in a community with strong smoke-free laws were 22 percent less likely to be put in the hospital compared to those who were in a community with no law or a weak law,” said study author Ellen Hahn, director of the Tobacco Policy Research Program at the University of Kentucky’s College of Nursing in Lexington.
COPD is a progressive lung disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways. People who have COPD often feel short of breath, or they may cough or wheeze. Medication can help control the symptoms, but there’s no cure. It’s currently the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.