Terminal Lung Disease, Without Ever Smoking a Cigarette

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Is second-hand smoke powerful enough to induce a life-threatening lung syndrome?

The London Daily Mail tells the story of 52-year-old Lynda Mitchell — a woman who is in the midst of a daily battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The condition makes it progressively more difficult to breathe, and according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, cigarette smoking is the leading cause.

The catch is, Mitchell says she has never smoked a cigarette in her life. But the Mail story reports that her parents exposed her to smoke from a very early age, and that has Mitchell mobilizing families to think twice before making their habit become their child’s too.

“One cigarette in your car, even with the window down, is like forcing a child to spend an evening in a nightclub full of smokers,” Mitchell told the Mail.

Isolated cases like Mitchell’s come at a time when individual U.S. states are changing the scope of their respective cigarette markets. The AP reports that starting Tuesday, cigarette packages in Iowa can no longer use terms ranging from “light” to “low-tar” — as those words can “mislead customers into thinking certain types of cigarettes are safer.” New York state approved a tentative deal last week that would give the state the nation’s highest tax on cigarettes. The New York Times reports that with the new $1.60 increase, New York would have the most expensive tax in the nation at $4.35 per pack.

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