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Announcement: World COPD Day --- November 18, 2009

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is becoming a global public health problem and an economic burden. The World Health Organization estimates that, by 2030, COPD will be the third leading cause of death worldwide (1). The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, in collaboration with health-care professionals and COPD patient groups throughout the world, is sponsoring World COPD Day on November 18, 2009. The aim of World COPD Day is to raise awareness about COPD and improve COPD care throughout the world.

Tobacco smoking is the most important risk factor for the development and progression of COPD. Additional risk factors include asthma, exposure to ambient pollutants in the home and workplace, and respiratory infections (2). Smokers should be encouraged to seek support to quit, and all persons should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke. Many resources are available to help smokers quit. Additional information about smoking cessation is available online (at and or by telephone (800-QUITNOW [800-784-8669]).

COPD is treatable, and early diagnosis is important. Health-care providers should evaluate persons at risk for COPD who have cough, sputum production, or shortness of breath, and use spirometry to determine the severity of the disease (3). Additional information on COPD is available at


  1. World Health Organization. World health statistics 2008. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2008. Available at Accessed November 5, 2009.
  2. Mannino DM, Doherty DE, Buist AS. Global Initiative on Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) classification of lung disease and mortality: findings from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Respir Med 2006;100:115--22.
  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. COPD Learn More, Breathe Better campaign. Available at Accessed November 5, 2009.

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Date last reviewed: 11/12/2009


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