The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in U.S. military veterans is higher than that of non-veterans. Smoking and physical activity behaviors of veterans with COPD have not been studied. Therefore, our objective was to determine whether smoking and physical activity behaviors of veterans with COPD differ from non-veterans with COPD. Our secondary objective was to describe lifestyle behaviors of veterans after being diagnosed with COPD.A cross-sectional analysis of lifestyle behaviors in veterans and non-veterans with COPD from the 2017 BRFSS was conducted. Logistic regression models were constructed to obtain adjusted risk ratios (ARRs). All confidence intervals (CIs) were reported at 95\4.2\13.45–14.99) and 11.1\10.82–11.41) among the non-veteran population (X2: F(1, 250,985) = 62.71, P \lt; 0.01) (n = 37,532, N = 16,587,340). Veterans with COPD were significantly less likely to have a quit attempt in the past 12 months (ARR = 0.89, CI 0.81–0.97). Female veterans were significantly more likely to be current smokers (ARR = 1.28, CI 1.06–1.55) and less likely to meet aerobic physical activity recommendations (ARR = 0.71, CI 0.54–0.93) compared with male veterans.Veterans were significantly more likely to have COPD compared with non-veterans. Additionally, female veterans were significantly more likely to be current smokers following a diagnosis of COPD, which was not significant in male veterans, and both sexes were less likely to have a quit attempt compared with non-veterans. Finally, both male and female veterans were less likely to meet aerobic physical activity recommendations compared with non-veterans. Our findings suggest that further efforts should be made to increase the frequency of quit attempts and improve smoking rates and physical activity in veterans with COPD.