Anyone who smokes and eats large quantities of cured meats like bacon has a higher risk of developing COPD, according to new research by a Columbia University team.
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The disease kills 30,000 people in the UK each year. Smoking is the single most important cause of COPD, although the research suggests other factors may result in an increased risk of the disease.
The research report suggests that nitrates may be responsible for the increased risk. According to Dr Rui Jiang who led the research, high levels of nitrites are used in cured meats like bacon, as preservatives, anti-bacterial agents and colour fixatives.