Despite encouraging reductions in the use of cigarettes, especially by the middle aged men, the problems of COPD patients persist and are likely to do so in the future. The management of COPD patients is increasingly multidisciplinary, and the patients themselves are entitled to explanation and education not only how their disease arises or what they can do to prevent this disease but also what the different treatments recommended do and what kind of benefits they are likely to achieve from these treatments and smoking cessation (Pauwels, R.A. and Rabe, K.F., 2004).
Definitions: COPD is a spectrum of disease that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, long-standing asthma that has become relatively unresponsive to treatment, and small airways disease. The unifying feature of COPD is that it is chronic, slowly progressive disorder characterized by airflow obstruction that is not fully reversible and varies very little from day to day and month to month (Pauwels, R.A. and Rabe, K.F., 2004).
Cigarette Smoking: Cigarette smoking is the most commonly identified correlate with COPD. Experimental studies have shown that prolonged cigarette smoking impairs ciliary movement, inhibits the function of alveolar macrophages, and leads to hypertrophy and hyperplasia of mucus secreting glands. Inhaled cigarette smoke is overwhelmingly the most important risk factor for the development of COPD. Although, COPD can occur in nonsmokers, about 90% cases are thought to be a direct result of cigarette smoking (Jamrozik, K., 2004). On the other hand, lung function decreases after the age of 30-35 years as a part of the ageing process. In normal healthy nonsmokers, the rate of decline of forced expiratory volume at 1 minute is 25 to 30 mL a year; whereas, in at-risk smokers, the rate of decline may be double, that is, 50 to 60 mL a year. What is clearly known is although lost lung function is not regained when smoking is stopped, the rate of decline returns to that of a nonsmoker. The FEV1 often drops below 50% of the predicted before symptoms of COPD appear, and the patients usually present with symptomatic disease at the age of 50 to 70 years. This highlights the importance of the early detection of such high-risk smokers and persuading them to stop smoking. If they can be persuaded to stop, they may never suffer from severe, disabling, and symptomatic disease. Even when a smoker has developed symptomatic disease, stopping smoking will still result in worthwhile salvage of lung function and improved life expectancy (National Collaborating Centre for Chronic Conditions, 2004).
Development of Patient Education Program: Stopping smoking is the single most important intervention in COPD and the only thing that significantly alters the natural history of the disease. It is of primary importance at every stage and must be encouraged actively and continuously. In mild COPD it may be the only treatment needed and may prevent the patient ever developing severe, disabling and life-threatening illness. Therefore, a patient education program with an intention for awareness about the disease could be an acceptable approach in the early stages of the disease. Drugs or medical therapy alone cannot satisfactory ensure short