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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Prevalence Among Adults Who Have Never Smoked, by Industry and Occupation — United States, 2013–2017
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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a debilitating respiratory condition with high mortality and morbidity (1,2). However, an estimated 24% of adults with COPD have never smoked (3,4). Among these persons, 26%-53% of COPD can be attributed to workplace exposures, including dust, fumes, gases, vapors, and secondhand smoke exposure (4-6). To assess industry-specific and occupation-specific COPD prevalence among adults aged ≥18 years who have never smoked and who were employed any time during the past 12 months, CDC analyzed 2013-2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data. Among an estimated 106 million workers who had never smoked, 2.2% (2.4 million) have COPD. Highest prevalences were among workers aged ≥65 years (4.6%), women (3.0%), and those reporting fair/poor health (6.7%). Among industries and occupations, the highest COPD prevalences were among workers in the information industry (3.3%) and office and administrative support occupations (3.3%). Among women, the highest prevalences were among those employed in the information industry (5.1%) and in the transportation and material moving occupation (4.5%), and among men, among those employed in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry (2.3%) and the administrative and support, waste management, and remediation services industry (2.3%). High COPD prevalences in certain industries and occupations among persons who have never smoked underscore the importance of continued surveillance, early identification of COPD, and reduction or elimination of COPD-associated risk factors, such as the reduction of workplace exposures to dust, vapors, fumes, chemicals, and exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollutants.

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