• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • screening;
  • smoking cessation


Purpose: To review the research-based evidence supporting smoking cessation as the only proven method to reduce chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) progression and to show that early detection of disease with office-based spirometry can lead to therapeutic intervention before physiologic symptoms arise.

Data sources: Extensive review of national and international scientific literature supplemented with drawings and algorithms.

Conclusions: Early detection of COPD with spirometry, along with smoking cessation, and aggressive intervention can alter the insidious course of this highly preventable disease. It is imperative that nurse practitioners utilize this simple and inexpensive procedure to identify COPD in its earliest stages, so treatment can reduce individual and community disease burden, reduce morbidity and mortality, and help reduce healthcare costs.

Implications for practice: Determination of early airflow obstruction supports smoking cessation education, provides objective data for patient motivation, thereby doubling patient compliance and reducing further disease burden.