Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Smoking is also a trigger for COPD flare-ups. Smoking damages the air sacs, airways, and the lining of your lungs. Injured lungs have trouble moving enough air in and out, so it's hard to breathe.
Things that make chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms worse are called triggers. Knowing what your triggers are and how to avoid them can help you feel better. Smoking is a trigger for many people who have COPD. Smoking can cause an exacerbation, or flare-up, of your symptoms.
You do not have to be a smoker for smoking to cause harm. Exposure to someone else's smoking (called secondhand smoke) is also a trigger for COPD flare-ups.
Smoking damages your lungs. When you have COPD and smoke, your lungs will get damaged more rapidly than if you were to stop smoking.