Lifetime environmental tobacco smoke exposure and the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseaseReport as inadecuate

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Environmental Health

, 4:7

First Online: 12 May 2005Received: 06 January 2005Accepted: 12 May 2005DOI: 10.1186-1476-069X-4-7

Cite this article as: Eisner, M.D., Balmes, J., Katz, P.P. et al. Environ Health 2005 4: 7. doi:10.1186-1476-069X-4-7


BackgroundExposure to environmental tobacco smoke ETS, which contains potent respiratory irritants, may lead to chronic airway inflammation and obstruction. Although ETS exposure appears to cause asthma in children and adults, its role in causing COPD has received limited attention in epidemiologic studies.

MethodsUsing data from a population-based sample of 2,113 U.S. adults aged 55 to 75 years, we examined the association between lifetime ETS exposure and the risk of developing COPD.

Participants were recruited from all 48 contiguous U.S. states by random digit dialing. Lifetime ETS exposure was ascertained by structured telephone interview. We used a standard epidemiologic approach to define COPD based on a self-reported physician diagnosis of chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or COPD.

ResultsHigher cumulative lifetime home and work exposure were associated with a greater risk of COPD. The highest quartile of lifetime home ETS exposure was associated with a greater risk of COPD, controlling for age, sex, race, personal smoking history, educational attainment, marital status, and occupational exposure to vapors, gas, dusts, or fumes during the longest held job OR 1.55; 95% CI 1.09 to 2.21. The highest quartile of lifetime workplace ETS exposure was also related to a greater risk of COPD OR 1.36; 95% CI 1.002 to 1.84. The population attributable fraction was 11% for the highest quartile of home ETS exposure and 7% for work exposure.

ConclusionETS exposure may be an important cause of COPD. Consequently, public policies aimed at preventing public smoking may reduce the burden of COPD-related death and disability, both by reducing direct smoking and ETS exposure.

KeywordsPulmonary Disease Chronic Obstructive Chronic Bronchitis Pulmonary Emphysema Tobacco smoke pollution AbbreviationsETSenvironmental tobacco smoke

COPDchronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Author: Mark D Eisner - John Balmes - Patricia P Katz - Laura Trupin - Edward H Yelin - Paul D Blanc



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