Schachter said he expects to rates of COPD climb even higher. "There is a 20 to 30 year lag from the time someone starts smoking and COPD symptoms appear and we are still working with a generation of the 70's and 80's." he said.
In addition, although the number of American adults who smoke has dropped to a new low of 20 percent, the U.S. population has grown, so in real terms there are about the same number of people smoking today as in the late 1960's, Schachter said. "We are pretty much treading water here," he said.
There are still as many a 70 million smokers -- 25 percent of whom are going to develop COPD, Schachter said.
Dr Norman H. Edelman, professor of preventive medicine, internal medicine, physiology and biophysics at Stony Brook University, NY and chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, added that, "the very little progress in treatment of COPD is quite troubling. This could be related to the much less money spent on research than for cancer and cardiovascular disease," he said.
For more information on COPD, visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
SOURCES: Lara J. Akinbami, M.D., medical officer, Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; E. Neil Schachter, M.D., professor, pediatrics, preventive medicine, medicine and pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and director, Mount Sinai COPD Program, New York City; Norman H. Edelman, M.D., professor, preventive medicine, internal medicine, physiology & biophysics at Stony Brook University, NY, chief medical officer, American Lung Association; June 29, 2011, CDC, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Among Adults Aged 1
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