COPD is easily detected in its preclinical phase using spirometry, and successful smoking cessation (a cost-effective intervention) prevents further disease progression. This consensus statement recommends the widespread use of office spirometry by primary-care providers for patients >/= 45 years old who smoke cigarettes. Discussion of the spirometry results with current smokers should be accompanied by strong advice to quit smoking and referral to local smoking cessation resources. Spirometry also is recommended for patients with respiratory symptoms such as chronic cough, episodic wheezing, and exertional dyspnea in order to detect airways obstruction due to asthma or COPD. Although diagnostic-quality spirometry may be used to detect COPD, we recommend the development, validation, and implementation of a new type of spirometry-office spirometry-for this purpose in the primary-care setting. In order to encourage the widespread use of office spirometers, their specifications differ somewhat from those for diagnostic spirometers, allowing lower instrument cost, smaller size, less effort to perform the test, improved ease of calibration checks, and an improved quality-assurance program.