Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Smoking Status - United States, 2017

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 Jun 21;68(24):533-538. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6824a1.


Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the United States; however, an estimated one fourth of adults with COPD have never smoked (1). CDC analyzed state-specific Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 2017, which indicated that, overall among U.S. adults, 6.2% (age-adjusted) reported having been told by a health care professional that they had COPD. The age-adjusted prevalence of COPD was 15.2% among current cigarette smokers, 7.6% among former smokers, and 2.8% among adults who had never smoked. Higher prevalences of COPD were observed in southeastern and Appalachian states, regardless of smoking status of respondents. Whereas the strong positive correlation between state prevalence of COPD and state prevalence of current smoking was expected among current and former smokers, a similar relationship among adults who had never smoked suggests secondhand smoke exposure as a potential risk factor for COPD. Continued promotion of smoke-free environments might reduce COPD among both those who smoke and those who do not.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult