Where there’s smoke
In the summer of 2015, forest fires
raged in the Pacific Northwest.
Hundreds of kilometres away,
Myron Peterson was housebound
with his windows sealed tight.
“ I couldn’t breathe and I just
had to stay in the house,” says
the 73-year-old, who has chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD) and rarely goes out
without an industrial face mask.
For Peterson and others with
COPD, poor air-quality days, forest
fires and even backyard firepits
make breathing more difficult.
COPD is described as feeling as if
you’re breathing through a straw.
Incurable but treatable, COPD
mainly affects smokers. Peterson is
one of more than 100,000 Albertans
with COPD. He smoked for 40
years but a nicotine patch helped
him kick the habit.
In 2013, 16 per cent of Albertans
(more than 640,000 people)
That’s slightly higher than the
national average, but down from 27
per cent of the population in 1999.
“The use of tobacco products,
including chewing tobacco, is
still a major threat to the health
of Albertans,” says Tasha Allen,
team lead with the Alberta Health
Services’ Tobacco Reduction
There’s a risk to
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