Respiratory symptoms/diseases and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in never smoker Italian women.Respir Med 2007; 101(3):531-8RM
To study the relationship between respiratory/allergic disorders and chronic environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure to husband or at workplace among non-smoking women of a general population in Italy.
Analyses regard 2195 married or employed women. Information was collected through a self-administered questionnaire. ETS exposure was validated by salivary cotinine.
Exposure both to husband and at work resulted a significant risk factor for current dyspnoea (odds ratio (OR) 1.61, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20-2.16), any shortness of breath at rest (OR 2.81, 95% CI 1.83-4.30), recent wheeze (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.04-2.82), recent attacks of shortness of breath with wheeze (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.05-3.26), asthma diagnosis/symptoms (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.09-2.08), diagnosis of asthma or bronchitis/emphysema (obstructive lung diseases (OLD)) (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.40-3.58), current cough/phlegm (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.07-2.15), and rhino-conjunctivitis (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.13-1.94). Exposure only at work yielded higher adjusted odds ratios for all health conditions, except for rhino-conjunctivitis. Overall, about 24% of shortness of breath at rest, 16% of dyspnoea, 17% of rhino-conjunctivitis, 12% of OLD, and 10% of asthma diagnosis/symptoms are attributable to the effect of exposures to both husband and at work. Twelve percent of shortness of breath at rest and 10% of rhino-conjunctivitis cases might be avoided by eliminating exposure only at work and only to husband, respectively.
Lifetime ETS exposure, especially at work, is associated with respiratory symptoms/diseases, and it accounts for a sizeable proportion of such disorders. The combined effect of both exposures is higher than the separate effects.