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Lung India. 2017 Mar-Apr;34(2):122-126. doi: 10.4103/0970-2113.201298.

Prevalence and etiological profile of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in nonsmokers.

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Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Moti Lal Nehru Medical College, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Department of Pulmonary Medicine, KGMU, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.



Tobacco smoking has been recognized as the most important risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for a long time, but recent studies have shown that nonsmokers also contribute to a significant proportion of COPD. This study was performed to find out the proportion of nonsmoker individuals among COPD patients and to determine various etiologies in nonsmoker COPD patients.


This study was an observational cross-sectional study conducted in Department of Pulmonary Medicine, MLN Medical College, Allahabad. A total of 200 COPD patients, aged >18 years of either gender with COPD, diagnosed by clinical and spirometric criteria (GOLD guideline) were included in the study.


Of the 200 COPD patients, the proportion of nonsmoker patients was 56.5%, and the smoker was 43.5%. Among 113 nonsmoker COPD patients, maximum number of patients (69.03%) belonged to low socioeconomic status but most important and statistically significant risk factor was exposure to biomass smoke (53.98%), other significant risk factors were treated pulmonary tuberculosis (32.74%), and long-standing asthma (14.16%). Risk factors that were not statistically significant were occupational exposure (9.73%), exposure to outdoor air pollution (3.54%), and lower respiratory tract infection during childhood (1.77%). The patients who were exposed to more than one risk factors, developed COPD at an earlier age.


This study revealed that nonsmokers contribute a significant proportion of COPD patients. Multiple risk factors other than smoking also play a major role in the development of COPD, particularly exposure to biomass smoke, treated pulmonary tuberculosis, and long-standing asthma.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; nonsmoker; risk factor; spirometry

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