Background: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) causes a huge economic burden and >80% of COPD cases are attributable to smoking. Massachusetts introduced a comprehensive Tobacco Control Program (MTCP) in January 1993. A trend analysis of COPD hospitalization rates might indirectly reflect the potential impact of such comprehensive tobacco control programs.
Methods: Age-adjusted COPD hospitalization rates/100,000 was abstracted from the Massachusetts Community Health Information Profile Database between 1989 and 2005. Joinpoint Regression Analyses program was employed to estimate annual percent changes (APC) in COPD rates by age, sex and race.
Results: In 1989, 265/100,000 age-adjusted COPD hospitalization rates were reported that increased to 423/100,000 in 1993, and then declined to 329/100,000 in 2005. A significant annual decline of 5.6 percentage points was observed in overall COPD rates from 1993 onwards. A similar temporal pattern, with an age-gradient and a slower annual decline in female COPD rates relative to male COPD rates, was observed. COPD rates in both Blacks and Whites were similar to the general overall pattern. Such consistent annual declines in COPD hospitalization rates from 1993 onwards in Massachusetts also closely correspond to the introduction of the MTCP in January 1993.
Conclusion: The findings indirectly suggest that smoking cessation should remain the cornerstone strategy for the prevention and control of COPD burden. However, additional studies across different population settings are essential for a definitive conclusion with regard to the immediate impact of a comprehensive tobacco control program on COPD hospitalization rates showing possible gender susceptibility.