A New England Journal of Medicine study indicates that passive smoking as a child or teen may increase the risk of developing COPD later in life.

Suboptimal development of lung function in childhood and adolescence is a major determinant of  COPD risk in older age.

COPD is one of most common causes of death in the world today with active smoking accounting for approximately 85% of all cases.

“COPD can be developed in different ways, so achieving normal growth in lung function in early adulthood is an important factor in terms of future risk,” said Peter Lange, professor at the department of public health, University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

For decades, the development of COPD has been ascribed to accelerated decline of lung function from a normal level achieved in young adulthood.

But the study said that not all at risk patients show accelerated lung function decline.

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