In the elderly pneumoconioses due to anorganic or organic dusts are not very common. The incidence of mesothelioma is increasing also in the elderly population. Mesothelioma has become the most frequent occupational malignancy. There is also evidence that mesothelioma can be produced by other fibers than asbestos particles. The paper discusses further the effect of passive smoking, where there is new evidence that passive-smokers are exposed to a higher risk for bronchial cancer than non-smokers. The interactions between smoking and air pollution and morbidity of chronic bronchitis are illustrated. New aspects of pathogenesis and pathophysiology of chronic obstructive lung disease and pulmonary emphysema due to smoking as the most frequent environmental lung disease in the elderly are further discussed. A brief overview of the therapeutical approach to chronic obstructive lung disease including new forms of treatment of cor pulmonale is finally given.