Don't smoke. The more you smoke, the greater your risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There’s no safe amount to smoke, so don’t smoke anything. Cigarettes, pipes, cigars and marijuana all can harm your lungs. If you stop smoking, you can still reduce your risk of lung cancer. Exercise. The more you exercise, the easier it is for your lungs to keep your heart and muscles supplied with oxygen. Exercise doesn’t necessarily strengthen your lungs, but it helps them perform better. Know your cough. If you have a cough for more than a month or get winded easily, see your doctor. A chronic cough could be a warning sign of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. Practice proper posture. Slouching has been shown to reduce your lung capacity, which can make it more difficult for oxygen to reach your heart and muscles. Avoid pollution. Like smoking, air pollution can have a detrimental effect on your lungs. Spending time outdoors in these conditions is risky, especially for people with lung disease.

— Jussuf Kaifi, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon at MU Health Care