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Health Indicator Report of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Prevalence

COPD is a serious lung disease that makes it hard to breathe and gets worse over time. COPD can cause coughing with or without large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. When COPD is severe, it can cause serious, long-term disability. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of COPD and accounts for as many as 9 out of 10 COPD-related deaths. Lower respiratory diseases, which include COPD, are the 4th leading cause of death in New Mexico.

Data Source

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, together with New Mexico Department of Health, Injury and Behavioral Epidemiology Bureau.

Data Interpretation Issues

Data for this indicator report are from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing survey of adults regarding their health-related behaviors, health conditions, and preventive services. Data are collected in all 50 states, D.C., and U.S. territories. Responses have been weighted to reflect the New Mexico adult population by age, sex, ethnicity, geographic region, marital status, education level, home ownership and type of phone ownership. The survey is conducted using scientific telephone survey methods for landline and cellular phones (with cellular since 2011). The landline phone portion of the survey excludes adults living in group quarters such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, and prisons. The cellular phone portion of the survey includes adult students living in college dormitories but excludes other group quarters. Beginning with 2011, the BRFSS updated its surveillance methods by adding in calls to cell phones and changing its weighting methods. These changes improve BRFSS' ability to take into account the increasing proportion of U.S. adults using only cellular telephones as well as to adjust survey data to improve the representativeness of the estimates generated from the survey. Results have been adjusted for the probability of selection of the respondent, and have been weighted to the adult population by age, gender, phone type, detailed race/ethnicity, renter/owner, education, marital status, and geographic area. Lastly and importantly, these changes mean that the data from years prior to 2011 are not directly comparable to data from 2011 and beyond. Please see the BRFSS Method Change Factsheet accessible at The "missing" and "don't know" responses are removed before calculating a percentage.


Estimated percentage of New Mexican adults (ages 18 and over) who have been diagnosed with COPD. In the United States, the term "COPD" includes two main conditions: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Because most people diagnosed with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, the general term "COPD" is often used.


Number of adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System who have been told by a doctor, nurse or other health professional that they have COPD, emphysema or chronic bronchitis.


Number of adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

How Are We Doing?

Rates of diagnosed COPD in New Mexico have remained stable since 2011. Although overall cigarette smoking continues to decline, smoking rates continue to be higher among certain population groups including people with lower levels of education or income, the uninsured, people with a disability, African Americans, and people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. In addition, the landscape of tobacco use and nicotine addiction is changing in light of emerging products such as e-cigarettes, hookah, and a variety of flavored tobacco products. About 5% of NM adults and 24% of NM high school youth use e-cigarettes and many of these individuals are using them in combination with traditional cigarettes.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

New Mexico and the United States have similar rates of COPD.

What Is Being Done?

The NM Tobacco Program has a five-year action plan for 2015-2020 to do the following work together with its contractors and other statewide partners. GOAL 1: Prevent Initiation of Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults Strategy 1a: Educate and inform stakeholders and decision-makers about evidence-based policies and programs to prevent initiation of tobacco use. Strategy 1b: Establish and strengthen tobacco-free policies in schools and on college or university campuses. GOAL 2: Eliminate Nonsmokers' Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Strategy 2a: Increase voluntary policies for smokefree multi-unit housing. Strategy 2b: Implement evidence-based mass-reach health communication interventions to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. GOAL 3: Promote Quitting Tobacco Among Youth and Young Adults Strategy 3a: Support state quitline capacity Strategy 3b: Increase engagement of health care providers and systems to expand utilization of proven cessation methods Strategy 3c: Expand insurance coverage and availability of comprehensive cessation services Strategy 3d: Promote health systems changes to support tobacco cessation Strategy 3e: Implement evidence-based mass-reach health communication interventions to increase cessation and promote the quitline. GOAL 4: Identify and Eliminate Tobacco-Related Disparities (see Health Program Information section)

Evidence-based Practices

Addressing tobacco use is best done through a coordinated effort to establish tobacco-free policies and social norms, to promote and assist tobacco users to quit, and to prevent initiation of tobacco use. This comprehensive approach combines educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social strategies. Research has documented strong or sufficient evidence in the use of the following strategies: - Increasing the unit price of tobacco products - Restricting minors' access to tobacco products; restricting the time, place, and manner in which tobacco is marketed and sold - Strategic, culturally appropriate, and high impact health communication messages (mass media), including paid TV, radio, billboard, print, and web-based advertising at state and local levels - Ensuring that all patients seen in the health care system are screened for tobacco use, receive brief interventions to help them quit, and are offered more intensive counseling and low- or no-cost cessation medications; providing insurance coverage of tobacco use treatment; phone- and web-based cessation services are effective and can reach large numbers of tobacco users; - Passage of laws and policies in a comprehensive tobacco control effort to protect the public from secondhand exposure - Focusing tobacco prevention and cessation interventions on populations at greatest risk in an effort to reduce tobacco-related health disparities Sources: CDC. Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs - 2014 ( The Guide to Community Preventive Services: Tobacco Use - 2010 (

Available Services

Current services include a free telephone helpline (1-800-QUIT NOW), with a personalized quitting plan, a trained quitting coach, multiple calls per enrollee, and quit coaching translation available in 200 languages. Web-based cessation services are also available ( stand-alone or in combination with the telephone helpline. The telephone helpline is also available in Spanish (1-855 DEJELO YA), and the Spanish web-based services are available at Additional services include free nicotine patches or gum and text-messaging support.

Page Content Updated On 10/11/2018, Published on 10/23/2018
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Content updated: Tue, 23 Oct 2018 16:11:59 MDT