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Geographic Patterns of COPD Similar for Smokers, Nonsmokers

Prevalence of COPD higher in southeastern and Appalachian states, regardless of smoking status

FRIDAY, June 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Geographic patterns of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) prevalence are similar among current smokers, former smokers, and adults who have never smoked, according to research published in the June 21 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed state-specific Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 2017 to examine the prevalence of COPD among smokers and nonsmokers.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted prevalence of COPD was 15.2, 7.6, and 2.8 percent among current cigarette smokers, former smokers, and adults who had never smoked, respectively. In southeastern and Appalachian states, the prevalence of COPD was higher, regardless of smoking status of respondents. The positive correlation between state prevalence of COPD and state prevalence of current smoking suggests that secondhand smoke may be a potential risk factor for COPD.

“Population-based strategies for smoking prevention and control, including comprehensive smoke-free policies, have the potential to decrease COPD prevalence, including among nonsmokers,” the authors write. “Clinicians should offer cessation support to patients who smoke and consider COPD in symptomatic patients, regardless of smoking history.”

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