Some people may be genetically predisposed to COPD and therefore at much higher risk if they smoke, reports The Independent.

The researchers studied 24 million genetic differences in people to discover those who are at greater risk, they reported in the journal Nature Genetics.

The most susceptible were about 3.7 times more likely to suffer from it at some point in their life, they found.

For every 100 people with this genetic make-up who also smoked, 72 would develop COPD, according to the study, which involved more than 100 scientists and 350,000 people from 13 different countries.