Approximately 10 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking causes 80 to 90% of COPD cases, and smokers are 10 times more likely than nonsmokers to die of the disease.
The association of COPD with smoking has also contributed to its lack of importance. Until recently it was seen as a self-inflicted consequence of a bad habit, rather than the tragic outcome of an addiction. There is also confusion around the term COPD among patients and healthcare professionals, which complicates epidemiologic studies of COPD. Patients may be diagnosed with smoker’s lung, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive bronchitis or obstructive lung disease and not identify with the term COPD.
For more information about the risks of smoking and COPD read the COPD Fact Sheet .