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Smoking and Tobacco

How long



Hi, I am 17 years old and my mom, who is 45, has been diagnosed with emphysema. She is a smoker and has been most or her life. While she was diagnosed in August, after a struggle with bronchitis, I was not informed until a few months ago. My mom was also addicted to pain killers, but she went to rehab this past summer. She seems to be having a difficult time with it. I just want to know, honestly, because my parents won`t tell me, what to expect? How long does she really have? She has tried to quit smoking, but so far she hasn`t been able to. And everything I have read, stresses how important quiting is to surving. I would really appreciate an honest answer. I have an older brother who is in the navy and away, and while he knows, I do not believe he knows how serious the disease is, so if you could tell us so that we can prepare ourselves that would be greatly appreciated. I love my mom, dearly, so I just want to know, if I should stay nearby for college or if it is ok to go away to school. I appreciate your time and honesty.


This is a difficult situation you describe and your concern for your mother is very understandable.  Emphysema has varying degrees of severity and is considered a chronic condition.  Your mother's health care provider is the one who can provide an appropriate evaluation of your mother's situation.  There are tests that they can do to determine how much air her lungs can take in and how well she breathes air out of her lungs.  There are medications to assist in managing symptoms of emphysema.  It would be helpful if you could talk with your parents or another adult about your concerns and love for your mother, along with your need to obtain information about your mother's health status so you can be supportive. 

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Response by:

Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor Emeritus
College of Public Health
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University