Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major public health problem. No therapies alter the natural history of the disease. Chronic bronchitis is perhaps the most clinically troublesome phenotype. Emerging data strongly suggest that cigarette smoke and its components can lead to acquired cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction. Findings in vitro, in animal models, and in smokers with and without COPD also show acquired CFTR dysfunction, which is associated with chronic bronchitis. This abnormality is also present in extrapulmonary organs, suggesting that CFTR dysfunction may contribute to smoking-related systemic diseases.