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Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke and respiratory symptoms in non-smoking adults: cross-sectional data from the general population of Telemark, Norway

Journal article
Authors A. K. M. Fell
M. V. Svendsen
Jeong-Lim Kim
R. Abrahamsen
P. K. Henneberger
Kjell Torén
P. D. Blanc
J. Kongerud
Published in Bmc Public Health
Volume 18
ISSN 1471-2458
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Language en
Keywords Respiratory disease, Epidemiology questionnaire, Second-hand smoke, VGDF exposure, obstructive pulmonary-disease, passive smoking, lung-function, onset, asthma, risk, questionnaire, children, home, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Subject categories Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


Background: In Norway, data on the association between second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) exposure at home and respiratory symptoms in adults are limited. Methods: We assessed the association between self-reported exposure to SHS and the prevalence of respiratory symptoms among never-smokers aged 16 to 50 years from the general population who were included in a cross-sectional population-based study in Telemark County, Norway. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the odds ratios of symptoms among 8850 never-smokers who provided an affirmative response to questions regarding SHS; 504 (5.7%) of these reported that they lived in a home with daily or occasional indoor smoking. Results: Productive cough and nocturnal dyspnoea were statistically associated with daily SHS exposure (ORs 1.5 [95% CI 1.04-2.0] and 1.8 [1.2-2.7], respectively). In analyses stratified by gender, nocturnal dyspnoea was associated with SHS among women (OR 1.8 [1.1-3.1]), but not among men (OR 0.93 [0.49-1.8]). Symptoms were not associated with occasional SHS exposure in the entire group, but infrequent exposure among men only was associated with increased prevalence of chronic cough; (OR 1.6; [1.04-2.6]) and was negatively associated with wheeze; (OR 0.44 [0.21-0.92)]. Conclusions: Daily SHS exposure in private homes was associated with productive cough and nocturnal dyspnoea. Our results suggest that preventive measures may be needed to reduce the respiratory effects of SHS at home.

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