Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Expert Forum
COPD & Smoking (now pipe only)
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COPD & Smoking (now pipe only)

My mother has COPD. She used to smoke about a pack of cigarettes a day, maybe more. She has since moved on to a pipe which she smokes daily. Is this less harmful? Is a pipe still a significant threat? What should we know about pipe-smoking and COPD?
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Pipe smoking is dangerous, not less harmful that cigarettes and can cause COPD. You ask, “Is a pipe still a significant threat?” The answer is, YES.  How significant a threat depends on how much smoking a person does and how deeply one inhales the smoke.  Pipe smoking is a very bad idea for a person with COPD.

The following is from a reputable medical journal, The Annals of Internal Medicine.


The Association of Pipe and Cigar Use With Cotinin Levels, Lung Function, and Airflow Obstruction: A Cross-sectional Study
Rodriguez, Josanna MD; Jiang, Rui MD, DrPH; Johnson
Annals of Internal Medicine  Issue: Volume 152(4), 16 February 2010, pp 201-210 Abstract
Background: Cigarette smoking is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but studies on the contribution of other smoking techniques are sparse.
Objective: To determine whether pipe and cigar smoking was associated with elevated cotinine levels, decrements in lung function, and increased odds of airflow obstruction.
Participants: Men and women aged 48 to 90 years without clinical cardiovascular disease at enrollment who were part of MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis).


Results: Self-reported current pipe and cigar smokers had elevated urine cotinine levels compared with never-smokers.  (Cotinine is a biomonitoring marker for tobacco smoke. Pipe-years smoked were associated with significant reductions in lung function (COPD). Participants who smoked pipes or cigars had increased odds of airflow obstruction (COPD

Conclusion: Pipe and cigar smoking increased urine cotinine levels and was associated with decreased lung function and increased odds of COPD, even in participants who had never smoked cigarettes.

Good luck
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