Via China Medical News: Coal burning and tuberculosis make COPD a common condition for non-smokers in China. Click through for the full post and links. Excerpt:
In western countries chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is seen as predominantly a disease of smokers - and the only way to halt its progression is to stop smoking.
In China however, thousands of non-smokers shows signs of non-reversible airways obstruction - and the reasons seem to be the country's ubiquitous use of dirty coal for cooking and heating. A study of 300,000 Chinese adults who have never smoked has found that one in twenty (5%) have COPD, with the condition more common in women than in men.
The main factors associated with COPD were low income, lack of education, living in a rural area and a prior history of tuberculosis. However, another major factor was cooking with coal.