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My father is 64 years old and he is experiencing breathing problems. This was a surprise for us all, because he was never a passionate smoker, he smoked not more than five cigarettes a day, and he quit almost a decade ago. Does one's occupation have anything to do with COPD development? He spent his entire life in a heavy industrial zone.

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Actually, environment can have great effect in developing some condition, including those related to lung and breathing disorders. Industrial polluted air, air in the mines especially, could damage the breathing pathways. This is emphasized if this has been happening for a long period (years, sometimes decades). This could happen even if you spend a lot of time in the company of those who smoke (passive smokers).
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