eCite Digital Repository

Explaining chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): perceptions of the role played by smoking


Hansen, EC and Walters, JAE and Wood-Baker, R, Explaining chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): perceptions of the role played by smoking, Sociology of Health and Illness, 29, (5) pp. 730-749. ISSN 0141-9889 (2007) [Refereed Article]

Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

The definitive published version is available online at:

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01013.x


There are few studies that investigate how people personally affected by a chronic disease associated with cigarette smoking account for their illness. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a respiratory condition largely caused by cigarette smoking. In order to better understand how people diagnosed with COPD view the relationship between cigarette smoking and their illness we conducted semi-structured interviews with 19 participants. We found a widespread scepticism among our respondents about medical attempts to link their illness with cigarette smoking, and doubts about whether their illness was in fact COPD at all. Only four participants described smoking as the principal reason why they had developed breathing problems. Most participants gave multi-causal accounts that emphasised explanatory factors such as a familial tendency to respiratory illness or workplace exposure to pollution. Our findings have relevance for the development of smoking cessation interventions for people with COPD.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cigarette smoking, lay knowledge, chronic illness, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, qualitative research
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology of health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Preventive medicine
UTAS Author:Hansen, EC (Dr Emily Hansen)
UTAS Author:Walters, JAE (Dr Julia Walters)
UTAS Author:Wood-Baker, R (Professor Richard Wood-Baker)
ID Code:45048
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:General Practice
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2012-11-07
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page