Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, asthma and pulmonary tuberculosis are common pulmonary diseases that are caused or worsened by tobacco smoking. Growing observational evidence suggests that symptoms and prognosis of these conditions improve upon smoking cessation. Despite increasing numbers of (small) randomised controlled trials suggesting intensive smoking cessation treatments work in people with pulmonary diseases many patients are not given specific advice on the benefits or referred for intensive cessation treatments and, therefore, continue smoking. This is a qualitative review regarding smoking cessation in patients with COPD and other pulmonary disorders, written by a group of European Respiratory Society experts. We describe the epidemiological links between smoking and pulmonary disorders, the evidence for benefits of stopping smoking, how best to assess tobacco dependence and what interventions currently work best to help pulmonary patients quit. Finally, we describe characteristics and management of any "hardcore" smoker who finds it difficult to quit with standard approaches.