Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Childhood Ups COPD Risk

Women have almost two-fold raised risk of COPD; men have increased risk of respiratory symptoms

WEDNESDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) during childhood is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among adult women, and is a significant risk factor for respiratory symptoms in men, according to a study published online Jan. 16 in Respirology.

To investigate the correlation between childhood ETS exposure and adult COPD and respiratory symptoms, Ane Johannessen, Ph.D., of the Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, and colleagues analyzed data from 433 patients with COPD and 325 control subjects who participated in the Bergen COPD Cohort Study during 2006 to 2009. Participants performed spirometry and completed questionnaires, and risk factors for COPD were examined.

The researchers found that childhood exposure to ETS had a prevalence of 61 percent. Women who were exposed to ETS during childhood had a significantly higher risk of COPD than those who were not exposed (odds ratio [OR], 1.9), after adjustment. Occupational dust exposure, family history of COPD, current exposure to ETS in the home, and education were important predictors of COPD and respiratory symptoms among women. Among males, ETS exposure during childhood correlated with respiratory symptoms (OR range, 1.5 to 1.7); also among males, occupational dust exposure and family history of COPD were risk factors for COPD and dyspnea, while education level was a risk factor for COPD.

"Exposure to ETS during childhood was associated with COPD and respiratory symptoms in adulthood," the authors write.

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