Identification and reduction of exposure to risk factors are important steps in the prevention and treatment of COPD. All individuals who smoke should be encouraged to quit regardless of their disease status. In addition, smokers without COPD should be offered smoking-cessation advice.

Preventing passive smoking in fetal and early life is important to reduce the risk of COPD in adult life. Smoking cessation is the most cost-effective form of both primary and secondary intervention in COPD. On a global scale, reduction of exposure to smoke from indoor biomass combustion, particularly among women and children, is important to reduce the prevalence of COPD.

Prevention of COPD exacerbations is important: influenza and pneumococcal vaccination as well as treatment with inhaled long-acting bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids all work to reduce exacerbations and hospitalisations for COPD.

See the entire Obstructive pulmonary disease Chapter