4 Major Threats to Lung Health (And How to Avoid Them)

Throughout the month of October, which is Healthy Lung Month, a special emphasis is placed on preventing lung diseases. Your lungs are one of the most complex organs in your body because they help you breathe.

Asbestos exposure can damage lung health.

The first step to ensure good lung health is to be aware of the threats in our daily lives that could potentially decrease lung health. Once you know what these threats are, it’s easier to avoid them whenever possible.

Tobacco Smoke

Not only does cigarette smoking increase risk for lung diseases and lung cancer, it also increases risk for health problems like heart disease and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),  more deaths are caused by tobacco use each year than by HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined. In addition, the CDC says that if no one smoked, one out of every three cancer deaths among Americans would not happen.

To avoid the negative health effects of tobacco smoke, find valuable resources that can help you quit smoking. The American Lung Association provides a great deal of information on the subject.

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used in many products and places. When asbestos fibers are disturbed, they can be dispersed into the air. These small floating fibers can then easily be inhaled and become lodged inside the lungs or lining of the chest. That’s when asbestos exposure becomes a major threat to lung health. Over time, it can lead to serious health problems like mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases.

You can avoid asbestos exposure by not disturbing any products or materials that you suspect may contain asbestos. Always contact a professional asbestos professional to remove the asbestos properly.

Outdoor Air Pollution

Chemicals like diesel, ground-level ozone, automobile exhaust and other pollutants found outside can damage your lungs over time. These chemicals are often found in the atmosphere in varying amounts. Breathing air in polluted areas can reduce your life expectancy, increase risk of asthma, bronchitis and cancer, and decrease lung function overall.

Avoid high polluted metropolitan areas whenever possible. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is another risk factor you should strive to avoid because pollutants can seep into your car as you sit. This makes the air inside your car up to 10 times more polluted than normal city air.


Benzene can be found in automobile gasoline, secondhand smoke, detergents and pesticides. It is a known carcinogen that can raise risk of leukemia and other major health problems. While it’s normal to be exposed to small amounts of benzene (for example, while pumping fuel at a gas station), you can avoid major benzene exposure by stepping away from the gas pump as you’re refueling your car.

Take care of your lungs. Start to make a conscious effort to avoid some of the major health threats – tobacco smoke, asbestos, air pollution and benzene – that exist in your everyday life.

Simmons Support Team
Simmons Hanly ConroyWritten by:

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