Causes of COPD | ResMed
Causes of COPD

Causes of COPD

The main cause of COPD is tobacco smoking, with smokers at a higher risk of respiratory problems and mortality.1 Other risk factors include exposure to air pollution, and occupational exposure to dust and chemicals.2

How common is COPD?

According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization3 65 million people across the globe are living with moderate to severe COPD. Over the next decade deaths from COPD are projected to increase by more than 30%3 and by 2030 it is expected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide.4


  1. Kohansal R, Martinez‐Camblor P, Agustı A, Buist S, Mannino DM, Soriano JB. The Natural History of Chronic Airflow Obstruction Revisited: An Analysis of the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2009:180:3–10 
  2. Mannino DM, Buist AS. ‘Global burden of COPD: risk factors, prevalence, and future trends’. The Lancet 2007:370:765‐773.
  3. WHO: Burden of COPD 
  4. World Health Organization. ‘World Health Statistics 2008’. Global Health Observatory (GHO)