Introduction: Smoking cessation is the single most effective way to prevent or delay the development of airflow limitation or to reduce its progression in subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of the study was to explore whether performing a spirometry changes attitudes toward smoking cessation.
Method: A random sample of 513 smokers, of whom 77 had COPD, answered a questionnaire before, shortly after (less than 4 weeks), and 3 months after performing a lung function test.
Results: Prior to spirometry, 57% of the smokers with COPD and 52% of those with normal spirometry claimed that they were not planning to quit smoking within the next 6 months. After the spirometry, 9% (p < .0001) of those with COPD and 38% (p = .009) of those with normal spirometry had no intention to stop smoking. Three months later, corresponding figures were 28% in COPD and 48% in smokers with normal spirometry, and the point prevalence of quitters was 30% for the COPD group and 14% for the normal group (p = .02).
Discussion: We conclude that performing spirometry changes the attitude toward smoking for a short time. We hypothesize that smokers may be more susceptible to smoking cessation activities during this period.