Lung Health photoIf you have unhealthy habits which can affect your lungs, such as smoking, exposure to secondary smoke, or a chronic health condition like pneumonia, COPD, emphysema or asthma, these facts and tips can help you take better care of your overall health.

Tobacco Use

  • Smoking causes 33% of cancers, 80% of COPD cases, 20% of coronary heart disease and 10% of strokes.
  • Tobacco use causes almost 15% of all deaths in Maryland.
  • Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.
  • According to a 2013 study in "The New England Journal of Medicine," quitting before the age of 40 reduces your chance of dying prematurely from a smoking-related disease by 90 percent, and quitting by age 54 reduces your chance by two-thirds.
  • Smokers who quit after being diagnosed with cancer can respond to treatment, reducing the chance of death from some cancers by up to 40 percent.
  • Smoking is a known cause of erectile dysfunction.

Lung Diseases

UM St. Joseph Medical Center treats lung cancer and diseases, including the following:

Lung Cancer

  • As a smoker, your chances of developing cancer of the Lung/Brochus is 1 in 14 for men and 1 in 17 for women.
  • Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women (not counting skin cancer).
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the U.S.
  • On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • COPD is usually caused by smoking and is the fourth leading cause of death. COPD can also be caused by second-hand smoke.
  • Smoking accounts for as many as 8 out of 10 COPD-related deaths. However, as many as 1 out of 4 Americans with COPD never smoked cigarettes.
  • About 75% of people with long smoking histories do not develop COPD.
  • COPD may occur in non-smokers as the result of genetics, toxic fumes and under-treated asthma.


  • You are more likely to get bacterial pneumonia if you smoke or have underlying medical conditions, like diabetes or heart disease.
  • Pneumonia can lead to mild or severe illnesses in people of any age.
  • Pneumonia can also result from being on a ventilator, which is known as ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Caring for Your Lungs

  • Make an appointment with your primary care provider to get a lung health assessment and lung screening.
  • If you smoke, quit or cut back. Sign up for smoking cessations classes by calling 410-427-2548.See our Calendar to join our In Control Smoking Cessation class.
  • See our Calendar to join the Better Breathers Club support group for individuals with emphysema, asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and their caregivers.
  • Exercise. Even low-level activity can improve both your lungs and your heart.
  • Wash your hands and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly to prevent respiratory infections.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Eliminate household toxins/ improve indoor air quality.

Learn more about UM SJMC treats lung diseases and lung cancer.