I've never smoked, not even one cigarette, in my entire 61 years, but I've been diagnosed with COPD. As a child, I watched both of my parents smoking heavily, also my husband of 24 years was a smoker too! During my teens, I went into bars with boyfriends and the air was filled with smoke (like a fog). I breathed in all this toxic air and am suffering now, breathless, cronic cough and sputin (lots of it!) Diagnosed with Asthma 10 years ago and now its escalated to COPD. I cannot believe that I've been diagnosed with COPD and never smoked!

20 Replies

  • Hello my father never smoked and he had copd I think it's the luck of the draw

    Take care


  • Oh but it is not down to luck, it is all in the genes....:-)

    P x

  • thorax.bmj.com/content/earl...


    'The prevalence of COPD (FEV1/FVC<lower limits of normal) in never-smokers was 6.4%, constituting 27% of all COPD subjects.'

  • Whilst smoking has been identified as the main cause of COPD it is by no means the only one.

    5 Common Causes of COPD (webmd)


    Secondhand smoke. Even if you don't smoke yourself, you can get COPD from living with a smoker and breathing in the smoke.

    Pollution and fumes.

    Your genes.


    Being diagnosed can be a shock to anyone and I suggest you do a little research, being careful to access only scholarly articles from trusted sources.

  • Hi Holly, smoking is thought to be the main cause but my mum had copd and never smoked. I did smoke but then again asthma can become obstructive. Its a bit of a shock when first diagnosed. Life is a lottery, some behaviours give you more tickets for disease but living a completely healthy life, if this is possible, unfortuneately, does not mean you will not get anything. Take Care, Margaret

  • Hi Holly, I can understand your shock at being diagnosed with COPD when you've never smoked. It seems so unfair.

    There are a few on here, that are in the same boat. xx

  • Hello Holly and welcome to the Community.

    Having inhaled all that smoke from both your parents and then your husband. These are far more likely to be the causes of your current disorder rather than the odd few hours here and then in a pub or club. Though of course they will not have helped.

    You probably had COPD some years ago but as with most people they only get diagnosed once the disease has become worse and therefore easier to see.

    I never smoked, nor did my parents and neither does my wife. I have never had asthma. I was diagnosed with COPD some years ago. Like Casper says there are plenty of members that have this diagnosis but have not smoked. Try clicking on a members name and look at their Profile. A lot of members do share how and why they are members via their Profile,

    Kind regards, Rib

  • Holly, You didn't deserve this. XXXX

  • As an ex-smoker, does that mean I do deserve it?

  • It's a crying shame isn't it. I think it's the luck of the draw. And I know a 90 year old who's always smoked like a chimney (poisoning her offspring) who doesn't even have copd (mind you, she looks more like 190)!

    Coupled with any childhood diseases (measles, whooping cough) which may have left lung damage, all that passive smoking, pollution, chemical irritants, building works in your home.........

    The reasons could be endless or, you could possibly have Alpha 1 Deficiency. This missing link can predispose you to copd. It's a simple skin prick blood test to rule it out but it's worth knowing.

    You can look it up by using the search bar, top right.

    In the mean time keep yourself as well as possible, keep your immune system fighting fit from September through to May with extra vits. Avoid people with colds/germs. Exercise as regularly as you can (indoors on a chair if necessary), eat very healthily and stick to a very healthy weight and you could, like others have, improve your lung function and quality of life.

    All the very best to you. Peege

  • I never smoked am now 67 but last yr was diagnosed with copd, but I worked for 14 yrs till I retired in a powder coating factory.

  • That is really, really bad luck eh? As an ex smoker I now realise, a little late, the effect it can have on others.

    Let's hope smoking becomes more and more unacceptable in society then at least then COPD from active or passive smoking will be no more,

    Keep well and happy !

    P x

  • I stupidly smoked and have copd which is debilitating and depressing especially bad days. I only have myself to blame but would advise smokers look at the after effects. I stay positive no use moaning now and have wonderful support.

  • Sorry you have been copd'd. Go to a pulmonary clinic your doctor will advise it is really helpful. If you need a chat you know where i am as it is nice to know you are not alone. Take good care

  • I totally agree with you Jaysha about keeping positive. I have been moaning a bit lately though as I've had a cough/chest infection for weeks now which I am having such trouble shaking off and am about to start my third lot of antib's - now slightly worried that I am becoming immune to them. I smoked like a chimney for years and I always say this is my self-inflicted illness and on the whole I don't at this stage allow it to interfere with my life too much - as long as I have my inhalers handy at all times!

  • Hi it does help me to be a bit more laid back. I used to panic when i got breathless but try to remain calm and do my breathing exercise which does help. Breathe in for 2 counts then breathe out with pursed lips as if you are whistling/blowing out a candle for 4 counts until your breath comes back it also advises to do it 3 times a day for 15 minutes to keep your airways open i put on dvd/music as it can get boring! Like you i was a heavy smoker so think this is self inflicted so get on with it. My mum has been diagnosed with ild through the doctor keeping her on an antib too long! now on oxygen 24/7 so don't want her worrying about me. Very sad. Have a nice week end. Take care

  • Hi Holly

    Like you I never smoked. Furthermore my parents never smoked, my wife never has & I have rarely worked in a smokey environment so I get how you feel!!

    I sometimes get very frustrated with people who do smoke; not that I don't understand why people start but I just want to shout at them & ask them why the hell they would want to invite feeling like this! But I guess life is what it is sometimes!

    I really hope you find ways to feel better anyway :)

  • my grandfather was a mennonite and had never been around cigarette smoke (lived in a predominantly mennonite town). he passed away from lung cancer so sometimes it happens. my birth mother (i'm adopted) lived to be 80, smoked like a fiend, and had nice pink lungs when she passed away. so sometimes it's what's in your genes. i unfortunately did not inherit her pink lungs and now have stage 4 copd (i smoked heavy too).

  • Hi Holly,I tend to look at it from the opposite angle,I,m a contrary old sod I know.There are millions of people that smoke that never have even a tickle in their throat.In my youth my attitude to drugs in general was I,d try anything once,this is the problem with legalising.I get addicted very easily so if I like something and it,s bad for me just trying it is dangerous but everybody is different.I have taken all sorts of drugs both legal and illegal and the ones that have nearly killed me are alcohol and tobacco!.My parents both smoked and drank more than I ever did,my mother died of old age (93 ) my dad of a heart attack aged 62 of stress Ithink.So it just boils down to when your time is up that,s it.I wish you a long and happy life,just make sure you enjoy it! D. 💐

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