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      Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke from husband more strongly impacts on the airway obstruction of nonsmoking women

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          The impact of airway obstruction of nonsmoking women caused by their husband’s smoking is unclear, despite the association between environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure at home and obstructive pulmonary diseases among nonsmoking women. The aim of this study was to provide evidence that ETS exposure from the husband at home has a more significant influence on the airway obstruction of nonsmoking women than other housemates.

          Participants and methods

          Nonsmoking women aged 40 years or older were recruited from the health checkup during May 2015–December 2016, Japan. They answered structured questionnaires, including ETS exposure from their husbands and other housemates (parents, siblings and dependants), and performed spirometry. We categorized the women with any history of ETS exposure from housemates into three groups (A = husband, B = others and C = both of husband and others) and defined the control group as those with no ETS exposure from housemates.


          A total of 811 nonsmoking women completed questionnaires and spirometry. The proportion of nonsmoking women who had airway obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV 1]/forced vital capacity [FVC] <70%) among Group A (7.5%) was significantly higher than those in the control group (1.1%, p<0.01) and Group B (0.8%, p<0.01). The proportion of airway obstruction in Group C (6.4%) was also higher than that in the control group ( p<0.05) and Group B ( p<0.05). ETS exposure from husband (odds ratio [OR], 3.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.48–8.42) remained strongly associated with airway obstruction after multiple logistic regression analysis, adjusting for age, housemate’s smoking habits, family history and ETS exposure in childhood and at work.


          Nonsmoking women who were exposed to ETS from their husband had the lowest FEV 1/FVC, and a higher proportion of them had airway obstruction when compared to nonsmoking women who experienced ETS from housemates other than their husbands. The findings suggest that tobacco control in husbands is the most important measure to prevent airway obstruction of nonsmoking women at home.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Worldwide burden of disease from exposure to second-hand smoke: a retrospective analysis of data from 192 countries.

          Exposure to second-hand smoke is common in many countries but the magnitude of the problem worldwide is poorly described. We aimed to estimate the worldwide exposure to second-hand smoke and its burden of disease in children and adult non-smokers in 2004. The burden of disease from second-hand smoke was estimated as deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for children and adult non-smokers. The calculations were based on disease-specific relative risk estimates and area-specific estimates of the proportion of people exposed to second-hand smoke, by comparative risk assessment methods, with data from 192 countries during 2004. Worldwide, 40% of children, 33% of male non-smokers, and 35% of female non-smokers were exposed to second-hand smoke in 2004. This exposure was estimated to have caused 379,000 deaths from ischaemic heart disease, 165,000 from lower respiratory infections, 36,900 from asthma, and 21,400 from lung cancer. 603,000 deaths were attributable to second-hand smoke in 2004, which was about 1·0% of worldwide mortality. 47% of deaths from second-hand smoke occurred in women, 28% in children, and 26% in men. DALYs lost because of exposure to second-hand smoke amounted to 10·9 million, which was about 0·7% of total worldwide burden of diseases in DALYs in 2004. 61% of DALYs were in children. The largest disease burdens were from lower respiratory infections in children younger than 5 years (5,939,000), ischaemic heart disease in adults (2,836,000), and asthma in adults (1,246,000) and children (651,000). These estimates of worldwide burden of disease attributable to second-hand smoke suggest that substantial health gains could be made by extending effective public health and clinical interventions to reduce passive smoking worldwide. Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Non-smoking wives of heavy smokers have a higher risk of lung cancer: a study from Japan.

             T Hirayama (1981)
            In a study in 29 health centre districts in Japan 91 540 non-smoking wives aged 40 and above were followed up for 14 years (1966-79), and standardised mortality rates for lung cancer were assessed according to the smoking habits of their husbands. Wives of heavy smokers were found to have a higher risk of developing lung cancer and a dose-response relation was observed. The relation between the husband's smoking and the wife's risk of developing lung cancer showed a similar pattern when analysed by age and occupation of the husband. The risk was particularly great in agricultural families when the husbands were aged 40-59 at enrolment. The husbands' smoking habit did not affect their wives' risk of dying from other disease such as stomach cancer, cervical cancer, and ischaemic heart disease. The risk of developing emphysema and asthma seemed to be higher in non-smoking wives of heavy smokers but the effect was not statistically significant. The husband's drinking habit seemed to have no effect on any causes of death in their wives, including lung cancer. These results indicate the possible importance of passive or indirect smoking as one of the causal factors of lung cancer. They also appear to explain the long-standing riddle of why many women develop lung cancer although they themselves are non-smokers. These results also cast doubt on the practice of assessing the relative risk of developing lung cancer in smokers by comparing them with non-smokers.
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              WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013, Enforcing Bans on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship


                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                28 December 2017
                : 13
                : 149-155
                Department of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Science, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki, Japan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Ryo Kozu, Department of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Science, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8520, Japan, Tel/fax +81 95 819 7963, Email ryokozu@
                © 2018 Suyama et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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