The relationship between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) has been scarcely studied in the general population. We aimed to investigate the association between COPD and risk of VTE and mortality in a population-based cohort.Spirometry was conducted in 8646 males and females, participating in the fifth (2001-02) and sixth (2007-08) surveys of the Tromsø Study. Incident VTE events during follow-up were registered from the date of inclusion to December 31, 2011. Cox-regression models with COPD stages and confounders as time varying covariates were used to calculate hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals for VTE and all-cause mortality.During a median follow-up of 6.2 years, 215 subjects developed VTE. Subjects with COPD stage III/IV had a two-fold higher risk of secondary VTE compared to subjects with normal airflow (HR 2.05, 95% CI 1.02-4.10). COPD patients, particularly those with stage III/IV disease, with VTE had a higher mortality rate than COPD patients without VTE (50.2% versus 5.6% per year).Our findings suggest that patients with severe COPD may have increased risk of secondary VTE, and that COPD patients with VTE have a higher mortality rate than COPD patients without VTE.