Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Second-hand smoke exposure in adulthood and lower respiratory health during 20 year follow up in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey

Claudia Flexeder 1 Jan-Paul Zock 2, 3, 4 Deborah Jarvis 5 Giuseppe Verlato 6 Mario Olivieri 6 Geza Benke 7 Michael Abramson 8 Torben Sigsgaard 9 Cecilie Svanes 10 Kjell Torén 11 Dennis Nowak 12 Rain Jogi 13 Jesus Martínez-Moratalla 14 Pascal Demoly 15, 16 Christer Janson 17 Thorarinn Gislason 18 Roberto Bono 19 Mathias Holm 11 Karl Franklin 20 Judith Garcia-Aymerich 3, 4, 2 Valérie Siroux 21 Bénédicte Leynaert 22 Sandra Dorado Arenas 23 Angelo Guido Corsico 24 Antonio Pereira-Vega 25 Nicole Probst-Hensch 26 Isabel Urrutia Landa 23 Holger Schulz 1, 27 Joachim Heinrich 28, 1, 29
Abstract : Early life exposure to tobacco smoke has been extensively studied but the role of second-hand smoke (SHS) for new-onset respiratory symptoms and lung function decline in adulthood has not been widely investigated in longitudinal studies. Our aim is to investigate the associations of exposure to SHS in adults with respiratory symptoms, respiratory conditions and lung function over 20 years. Methods: We used information from 3011 adults from 26 centres in 12 countries who participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Surveys I-III and were never or former smokers at all three surveys. Associations of SHS exposure with respiratory health (asthma symptom score, asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD) were analysed using generalised linear mixed-effects models adjusted for confounding factors (including sex, age, smoking status, socioeconomic status and allergic sensitisation). Linear mixed-effects models with additional adjustment for height were used to assess the relationships between SHS exposure and lung function levels and decline. Results: Reported exposure to SHS decreased in all 26 study centres over time. The prevalence of SHS exposure was 38.7% at baseline (1990-1994) and 7.1% after the 20-year follow-up (2008-2011). On average 2.4% of the study participants were not exposed at the first, but were exposed at the third examination. An increase in SHS exposure over time was associated with doctor-diagnosed asthma (odds ratio (OR): 2.7; 95% confidence interval (95%-CI): 1.2-5.9), chronic bronchitis (OR: 4.8; 95%-CI: 1.6-15.0), asthma symptom score (count ratio (CR): 1.9; 95%-CI: 1.2-2.9) and dyspnoea (OR: 2.7; 95%-CI: 1.1-6.7) compared to never exposed to SHS. Associations between increase in SHS exposure and incidence of COPD (OR: 2.0; 95%-CI: 0.6-6.0) or lung function (β: - 49 ml; 95%-CI: -132, 35 for FEV1 and β: - 62 ml; 95%-CI: -165, 40 for FVC) were not apparent. Conclusion: Exposure to second-hand smoke may lead to respiratory symptoms, but this is not accompanied by lung function changes.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Nathalie Salvy-Cordoba <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 11, 2021 - 10:33:30 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 3:28:17 AM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



Claudia Flexeder, Jan-Paul Zock, Deborah Jarvis, Giuseppe Verlato, Mario Olivieri, et al.. Second-hand smoke exposure in adulthood and lower respiratory health during 20 year follow up in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Respiratory Research, BioMed Central, 2019, 20 (1), pp.33. ⟨10.1186/s12931-019-0996-z⟩. ⟨hal-02893484⟩



Record views


Files downloads