Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, referred to as COPD, describes diseases related to blocked air flow and shortness of breath, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and non-reversible asthma. COPD is caused by the inhalation of pollutants, most commonly through tobacco use, but also through workplace exposures, air pollution and genetics.
- Over 15 million Americans are diagnosed with COPD
- Another 12 million have symptoms of the disease and do not know it.
- In the United States COPD is the third leading cause of death.
- COPD is estimated to cost the U.S. $49 billion by 2020.
Legislators can play an influential role in the battle against COPD, ranging from supporting a coordinated statewide partnership effort to lower the health and cost burden, awareness campaigns to physician education initiatives and funding of community outreach and management programs. Supporting public health surveillance initiatives can also provide states with the information they need to better understand how COPD affects their populations. This toolkit provides more information about COPD, its costs, and sample legislation to provide a springboard for additional action.