It included 182 smokers and 303 former smokers aged about 66 years.
At the start of the study, 319 had obstructive lung disease, 99 had restrictive lung disease and 67 had normal lung function; 238 of the patients were given statins.
Lung function tests after an average follow-up of 2.7 years showed patients on statins had less decline in lung function.
The statin group had an average decline in FEV1 of 2.5 per cent, compared to 12.8 per cent in the control group.
The average FVC in the statin group dropped by 1.3 per cent, compared to 10.3 per cent in the controls.
The benefit of statins was seen in patients with and without lung disease, and in smokers as well as those who had quit.