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1.  Evaluation of the Lung Cancer Risks at Which to Screen Ever- and Never-Smokers: Screening Rules Applied to the PLCO and NLST Cohorts 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001764.
Martin Tammemägi and colleagues evaluate which risk groups of individuals, including nonsmokers and high-risk individuals from 65 to 80 years of age, should be screened for lung cancer using computed tomography.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Lung cancer risks at which individuals should be screened with computed tomography (CT) for lung cancer are undecided. This study's objectives are to identify a risk threshold for selecting individuals for screening, to compare its efficiency with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) criteria for identifying screenees, and to determine whether never-smokers should be screened. Lung cancer risks are compared between smokers aged 55–64 and ≥65–80 y.
Methods and Findings
Applying the PLCOm2012 model, a model based on 6-y lung cancer incidence, we identified the risk threshold above which National Lung Screening Trial (NLST, n = 53,452) CT arm lung cancer mortality rates were consistently lower than rates in the chest X-ray (CXR) arm. We evaluated the USPSTF and PLCOm2012 risk criteria in intervention arm (CXR) smokers (n = 37,327) of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). The numbers of smokers selected for screening, and the sensitivities, specificities, and positive predictive values (PPVs) for identifying lung cancers were assessed. A modified model (PLCOall2014) evaluated risks in never-smokers. At PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, the 65th percentile of risk, the NLST CT arm mortality rates are consistently below the CXR arm's rates. The number needed to screen to prevent one lung cancer death in the 65th to 100th percentile risk group is 255 (95% CI 143 to 1,184), and in the 30th to <65th percentile risk group is 963 (95% CI 291 to −754); the number needed to screen could not be estimated in the <30th percentile risk group because of absence of lung cancer deaths. When applied to PLCO intervention arm smokers, compared to the USPSTF criteria, the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 threshold selected 8.8% fewer individuals for screening (p<0.001) but identified 12.4% more lung cancers (sensitivity 80.1% [95% CI 76.8%–83.0%] versus 71.2% [95% CI 67.6%–74.6%], p<0.001), had fewer false-positives (specificity 66.2% [95% CI 65.7%–66.7%] versus 62.7% [95% CI 62.2%–63.1%], p<0.001), and had higher PPV (4.2% [95% CI 3.9%–4.6%] versus 3.4% [95% CI 3.1%–3.7%], p<0.001). In total, 26% of individuals selected for screening based on USPSTF criteria had risks below the threshold PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. Of PLCO former smokers with quit time >15 y, 8.5% had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. None of 65,711 PLCO never-smokers had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. Risks and lung cancers were significantly greater in PLCO smokers aged ≥65–80 y than in those aged 55–64 y. This study omitted cost-effectiveness analysis.
Conclusions
The USPSTF criteria for CT screening include some low-risk individuals and exclude some high-risk individuals. Use of the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 criterion can improve screening efficiency. Currently, never-smokers should not be screened. Smokers aged ≥65–80 y are a high-risk group who may benefit from screening.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Lung cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in the world and the most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Like all cancers, lung cancer occurs when cells acquire genetic changes that allow them to grow uncontrollably and to move around the body (metastasize). The most common trigger for these genetic changes in lung cancer is exposure to cigarette smoke. Symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough and breathlessness. If lung cancer is diagnosed when it is confined to the lung (stage I), the tumor can often be removed surgically. Stage II tumors, which have spread into nearby lymph nodes, are usually treated with surgery plus chemotherapy or radiotherapy. For more advanced lung cancers that have spread throughout the chest (stage III) or the body (stage IV), surgery is rarely helpful and these tumors are treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy alone. Overall, because most lung cancers are not detected until they are advanced, less than 17% of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive for five years.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening for lung cancer—looking for early disease in healthy people—could save lives. In the US National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), annual screening with computed tomography (CT) reduced lung cancer mortality by 20% among smokers at high risk of developing cancer compared with screening with a chest X-ray. But what criteria should be used to decide who is screened for lung cancer? The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), for example, recommends annual CT screening of people who are 55–80 years old, have smoked 30 or more pack-years (one pack-year is defined as a pack of cigarettes per day for one year), and—if they are former smokers—quit smoking less than 15 years ago. However, some experts think lung cancer risk prediction models—statistical models that estimate risk based on numerous personal characteristics—should be used to select people for screening. Here, the researchers evaluate PLCOm2012, a lung cancer risk prediction model based on the incidence of lung cancer among smokers enrolled in the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). Specifically, the researchers use NLST and PLCO screening trial data to identify a PLCOm2012 risk threshold for selecting people for screening and to compare the efficiency of the PLCOm2012 model and the USPSTF criteria for identifying “screenees.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
By analyzing NLST data, the researchers calculated that at PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, mortality (death) rates among NLST participants screened with CT were consistently below mortality rates among NLST participants screened with chest X-ray and that 255 people with a PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 would need to be screened to prevent one lung cancer death. Next, they used data collected from smokers in the screened arm of the PLCO trial to compare the efficiency of the PLCOm2012 and USPSTF criteria for identifying screenees. They found that 8.8% fewer people had a PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 than met USPSTF criteria for screening, but 12.4% more lung cancers were identified. Thus, using PLCOm2012 improved the sensitivity and specificity of the selection of individuals for lung cancer screening over using UPSTF criteria. Notably, 8.5% of PLCO former smokers with quit times of more than 15 years had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, none of the PLCO never-smokers had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, and the calculated risks and incidence of lung cancer were greater among PLCO smokers aged ≥65–80 years than among those aged 55–64 years.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Despite the absence of a cost-effectiveness analysis in this study, these findings suggest that the use of the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 threshold rather than USPSTF criteria for selecting individuals for lung cancer screening could improve screening efficiency. The findings have several other important implications. First, these findings suggest that screening may be justified in people who stopped smoking more than 15 years ago; USPSTF currently recommends that screening stop once an individual's quit time exceeds 15 years. Second, these findings do not support lung cancer screening among never-smokers. Finally, these findings suggest that smokers aged ≥65–80 years might benefit from screening, although the presence of additional illnesses and reduced life expectancy need to be considered before recommending the provision of routine lung cancer screening to this section of the population.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001764.
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about all aspects of lung cancer for patients and health-care professionals, including information on lung cancer screening (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK also provides detailed information about lung cancer and about lung cancer screening
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a page on lung cancer that includes personal stories
MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information about lung cancer (in English and Spanish)
Information about the USPSTF recommendations for lung cancer screening is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001764
PMCID: PMC4251899  PMID: 25460915
2.  Occupational exposures, smoking and airway inflammation in refractory asthma 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:207.
Background
The influence of occupation and ex/passive smoking on inflammatory phenotype is not well understood. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between occupation, past smoking and current passive smoking and airway inflammation in a population of adults with refractory asthma.
Methods
Sixty-six participants with refractory asthma were characterised. Occupational exposure to asthma causing or worsening agents were identified with an asthma-specific job exposure matrix. Exposure to passive cigarette smoke was determined by questionnaire and exhaled carbon monoxide assessment. The carbon content of macrophages was assessed in a sub-group of participants.
Results
Nineteen participants had smoked previously with low smoking pack years (median 1.7 years). Ex-smokers more commonly lived with a current smoker (26% vs. 9%, p = 0.11) and were more likely to allow smoking inside their home (26% vs. 4%, p = 0.02) compared to never smokers. Twenty participants had occupations with an identified exposure risk to an asthmagen; thirteen had exposures to irritants such as motor vehicle exhaust and environmental tobacco smoke. Sputum neutrophils were elevated in participants with asthma who had occupational exposures, particularly those who were diagnosed with asthma at a more than 30 years of age.
Conclusions
Sputum neutrophils are elevated in refractory asthma with exposure to occupational asthmagens. In addition to older age, exposure to both environmental and occupational particulate matter may contribute to the presence of neutrophilic asthma. This may help explain asthma heterogeneity and geographical variations in airway inflammatory phenotypes in asthma.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-207
PMCID: PMC4391679  PMID: 25526871
Refractory asthma; Neutrophils; Occupational exposure
3.  Current and Former Smoking and Risk for Venous Thromboembolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001515.
In a meta-analysis of 32 observational studies involving 3,966,184 participants and 35,151 events, Suhua Wu and colleagues found that current, ever, and former smoking was associated with risk of venous thromboembolism.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Smoking is a well-established risk factor for atherosclerotic disease, but its role as an independent risk factor for venous thromboembolism (VTE) remains controversial. We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize all published prospective studies and case-control studies to update the risk for VTE in smokers and determine whether a dose–response relationship exists.
Methods and Findings
We performed a literature search using MEDLINE (source PubMed, January 1, 1966 to June 15, 2013) and EMBASE (January 1, 1980 to June 15, 2013) with no restrictions. Pooled effect estimates were obtained by using random-effects meta-analysis. Thirty-two observational studies involving 3,966,184 participants and 35,151 VTE events were identified. Compared with never smokers, the overall combined relative risks (RRs) for developing VTE were 1.17 (95% CI 1.09–1.25) for ever smokers, 1.23 (95% CI 1.14–1.33) for current smokers, and 1.10 (95% CI 1.03–1.17) for former smokers, respectively. The risk increased by 10.2% (95% CI 8.6%–11.8%) for every additional ten cigarettes per day smoked or by 6.1% (95% CI 3.8%–8.5%) for every additional ten pack-years. Analysis of 13 studies adjusted for body mass index (BMI) yielded a relatively higher RR (1.30; 95% CI 1.24–1.37) for current smokers. The population attributable fractions of VTE were 8.7% (95% CI 4.8%–12.3%) for ever smoking, 5.8% (95% CI 3.6%–8.2%) for current smoking, and 2.7% (95% CI 0.8%–4.5%) for former smoking. Smoking was associated with an absolute risk increase of 24.3 (95% CI 15.4–26.7) cases per 100,000 person-years.
Conclusions
Cigarette smoking is associated with a slightly increased risk for VTE. BMI appears to be a confounding factor in the risk estimates. The relationship between VTE and smoking has clinical relevance with respect to individual screening, risk factor modification, and the primary and secondary prevention of VTE.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Blood normally flows throughout the human body, supplying its organs and tissues with oxygen and nutrients. But, when an injury occurs, proteins called clotting factors make the blood gel (coagulate) at the injury site. The resultant clot (thrombus) plugs the wound and prevents blood loss. Occasionally, a thrombus forms inside an uninjured blood vessel and partly or completely blocks the blood flow. Clot formation inside one of the veins deep within the body, usually in a leg, is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and can cause pain, swelling, and redness in the affected limb. DVT can be treated with drugs that stop the blood clot from getting larger (anticoagulants) but, if left untreated, part of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. DVT and pulmonary embolism are collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). Risk factors for VTE include having an inherited blood clotting disorder, oral contraceptive use, prolonged inactivity (for example, during a long-haul plane flight), and having surgery. VTEs are present in about a third of all people who die in hospital and, in non-bedridden populations, about 10% of people die within 28 days of a first VTE event.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some but not all studies have reported that smoking is also a risk factor for VTE. A clear demonstration of a significant association (a relationship unlikely to have occurred by chance) between smoking and VTE might help to reduce the burden of VTE because smoking can potentially be reduced by encouraging individuals to quit smoking and through taxation policies and other measures designed to reduce tobacco consumption. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers examine the link between smoking and the risk of VTE in the general population and investigate whether heavy smokers have a higher risk of VTE than light smokers. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; meta-analysis is a statistical method for combining the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 32 observational studies (investigations that record a population's baseline characteristics and subsequent disease development) that provided data on smoking and VTE. Together, the studies involved nearly 4 million participants and recorded 35,151 VTE events. Compared with never smokers, ever smokers (current and former smokers combined) had a relative risk (RR) of developing VTE of 1.17. That is, ever smokers were 17% more likely to develop VTE than never smokers. For current smokers and former smokers, RRs were 1.23 and 1.10, respectively. Analysis of only studies that adjusted for body mass index (a measure of body fat and a known risk factor for conditions that affect the heart and circulation) yielded a slightly higher RR (1.30) for current smokers compared with never smokers. For ever smokers, the population attributable fraction (the proportional reduction in VTE that would accrue in the population if no one smoked) was 8.7%. Notably, the risk of VTE increased by 10.2% for every additional ten cigarettes smoked per day and by 6.1% for every additional ten pack-years. Thus, an individual who smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for 40 years had a 26.7% higher risk of developing VTE than someone who had never smoked. Finally, smoking was associated with an absolute risk increase of 24.3 cases of VTE per 100,000 person-years.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that cigarette smoking is associated with a statistically significant, slightly increased risk for VTE among the general population and reveal a dose-relationship between smoking and VTE risk. They cannot prove that smoking causes VTE—people who smoke may share other unknown characteristics (confounding factors) that are actually responsible for their increased risk of VTE. Indeed, these findings identify body mass index as a potential confounding factor that might affect the accuracy of estimates of the association between smoking and VTE risk. Although the risk of VTE associated with smoking is smaller than the risk associated with some well-established VTE risk factors, smoking is more common (globally, there are 1.1 billion smokers) and may act synergistically with some of these risk factors. Thus, smoking behavior should be considered when screening individuals for VTE and in the prevention of first and subsequent VTE events.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001515.
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on deep vein thrombosis (including an animation about how DVT causes pulmonary embolism), and information on pulmonary embolism
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information on deep vein thrombosis, including personal stories, and on pulmonary embolism; SmokeFree is a website provided by the UK National Health Service that offers advice on quitting smoking
The non-profit organization US National Blood Clot Alliance provides detailed information about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism for patients and professionals and includes a selection of personal stories about these conditions
The World Health Organization provides information about the dangers of tobacco (in several languages)
Smokefree.gov, from the US National Cancer Institute, offers online tools and resources to help people quit smoking
MedlinePlus has links to further information about deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and the dangers of smoking (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001515
PMCID: PMC3775725  PMID: 24068896
4.  The Impact of Cigarette Smoking on Asthma: A Population-Based International Cohort Study 
Background
The prevalence rates of smoking in subjects with asthma have frequently been reported as similar to those in the general population; however, available data are not up-to-date. There is only limited and somewhat conflicting information on the long-term effects of smoking on health outcomes among population-based cohorts of subjects with asthma. We aimed to investigate changes in smoking habits and their effects on forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) in subjects with asthma in comparison with the rest of the population, focusing on the healthy smoker effect.
Methods
We studied 9,092 subjects without asthma and 1,045 with asthma at baseline who participated in both the European Community Respiratory Health Survey I (20–44 years old in 1991–1993) and II (1999–2002).
Results
At follow-up, smoking was significantly less frequent among subjects with asthma than in the rest of the population (26 vs. 31%; p < 0.001). Subjects with asthma who were already ex-smokers at the beginning of the follow-up in the 1990s had the highest mean asthma score (number of reported asthma-like symptoms, range 0–5), probably as a result of the healthy smoker effect (2.80 vs. 2.44 in never smokers, 2.19 in quitters and 2.24 in smokers; p < 0.001). The influence of smoking on FEV1 decline did not depend on asthma status. Smokers had the highest proportion of subjects with chronic cough/phlegm (p < 0.01).
Conclusion
One out of 4 subjects with asthma continues smoking and reports significantly more chronic cough and phlegm than never smokers and ex-smokers. This stresses the importance of smoking cessation in all patients with asthma, even in those with less severe asthma.
doi:10.1159/000330900
PMCID: PMC3696371  PMID: 22286571
Asthma; Cigarette smoking; Epidemiology
5.  Association of Adenotonsillectomy with Asthma Outcomes in Children: A Longitudinal Database Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001753.
Rakesh Bhattacharjee and colleagues use data from a US private health insurance database to compare asthma severity measures in children one year before and one year after they underwent adenotonsillectomy with asthma measures in those who did not undergo adenotonsillectomy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Childhood asthma and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), both disorders of airway inflammation, were associated in recent observational studies. Although childhood OSA is effectively treated by adenotonsillectomy (AT), it remains unclear whether AT also improves childhood asthma. We hypothesized that AT, the first line of therapy for childhood OSA, would be associated with improved asthma outcomes and would reduce the usage of asthma therapies in children.
Methods and Findings
Using the 2003–2010 MarketScan database, we identified 13,506 children with asthma in the United States who underwent AT. Asthma outcomes during 1 y preceding AT were compared to those during 1 y following AT. In addition, 27,012 age-, sex-, and geographically matched children with asthma without AT were included to examine asthma outcomes among children without known adenotonsillar tissue morbidity. Primary outcomes included the occurrence of a diagnostic code for acute asthma exacerbation (AAE) or acute status asthmaticus (ASA). Secondary outcomes included temporal changes in asthma medication prescriptions, the frequency of asthma-related emergency room visits (ARERs), and asthma-related hospitalizations (ARHs). Comparing the year following AT to the year prior, AT was associated with significant reductions in AAE (30.2%; 95% CI: 25.6%–34.3%; p<0.0001), ASA (37.9%; 95% CI: 29.2%–45.6%; p<0.0001), ARERs (25.6%; 95% CI: 16.9%–33.3%; p<0.0001), and ARHs (35.8%; 95% CI: 19.6%–48.7%; p = 0.02). Moreover, AT was associated with significant reductions in most asthma prescription refills, including bronchodilators (16.7%; 95% CI: 16.1%–17.3%; p<0.001), inhaled corticosteroids (21.5%; 95% CI: 20.7%–22.3%; p<0.001), leukotriene receptor antagonists (13.4%; 95% CI: 12.9%–14.0%; p<0.001), and systemic corticosteroids (23.7%; 95% CI: 20.9%–26.5%; p<0.001). In contrast, there were no significant reductions in these outcomes in children with asthma who did not undergo AT over an overlapping follow-up period. Limitations of the MarketScan database include lack of information on race and obesity status. Also, the MarketScan database does not include information on children with public health insurance (i.e., Medicaid) or uninsured children.
Conclusions
In a very large sample of privately insured children, AT was associated with significant improvements in several asthma outcomes. Contingent on validation through prospectively designed clinical trials, this study supports the premise that detection and treatment of adenotonsillar tissue morbidity may serve as an important strategy for improving asthma control.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The global burden of asthma has been rising steadily over the past few decades. Nowadays, about 200–300 million adults and children worldwide are affected by asthma, a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs). Although asthma can develop at any age, it is often diagnosed in childhood—asthma is one of the commonest chronic diseases in children. In the US, for example, asthma affects around 7.1 million children under the age of 18 years and is the third leading cause of hospitalization of children under the age of 15 years. In people with asthma, the airways can react very strongly to allergens such as animal fur or to irritants such as cigarette smoke. Exercise, cold air, and infections can trigger asthma attacks, which can be fatal. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma cannot be cured, but drugs can relieve its symptoms and prevent acute asthma attacks.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recent studies have found an association between severe childhood asthma and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In OSA, airway inflammation promotes hypertrophy (excess growth) of the adenoids and the tonsils, immune system tissues in the upper airway. During sleep, the presence of hypertrophic adenotonsillar tissues predisposes the walls of the throat to collapse, which results in apnea—a brief interruption in breathing. People with OSA often snore loudly and frequently wake from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Childhood OSA, which affects 2%–3% of children, can be effectively treated by removal of the adenoids and tonsils (adenotonsillectomy). Given the association between childhood OSA and severe asthma and given the involvement of airway inflammation in both conditions, might adenotonsillectomy also improve childhood asthma? Here, the researchers analyze data from the MarketScan database, a large database of US patients with private health insurance, to investigate whether adenotonsillectomy is associated with improvements in asthma outcomes and with reductions in the use of asthma therapies in children.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the database to identify 13,506 children with asthma who had undergone adenotonsillectomy and to obtain information about asthma outcomes among these children for the year before and the year after the operation. Because asthma severity tends to decrease with age, the researchers also used the database to identify 27,012 age-, sex-, and geographically matched children with asthma who did not have the operation so that they could examine asthma outcomes over an equivalent two-year period in the absence of complications related to adenotonsillar hypertrophy. Comparing the year after adenotonsillectomy with the year before the operation, adenotonsillectomy was associated with a 30% reduction in acute asthma exacerbations, a 37.9% reduction in acute status asthmaticus (an asthma attack that is unresponsive to the drugs usually used to treat attacks), a 25.6% reduction in asthma-related emergency room visits, and a 35.8% reduction in asthma-related hospitalizations. By contrast, among the control children, there was only a 2% reduction in acute asthma exacerbations and only a 7% reduction in acute status asthmaticus over an equivalent two-year period. Adenotonsillectomy was also associated with significant reductions (changes unlikely to have occurred by chance) in prescription refills for most types of drugs used to treat asthma, whereas there were no significant reductions in prescription refills among children with asthma who had not undergone adenotonsillectomy. The study was limited by the lack of measures of race and obesity, which are both associated with severity of asthma.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in a large sample of privately insured children in the US, adenotonsillectomy was associated with significant improvements in several asthma outcomes. These results do not show, however, that adenotonsillectomy caused a reduction in the severity of childhood asthma. It could be that the children who underwent adenotonsillectomy (but not those who did not have the operation) shared another unknown factor that led to improvements in their asthma over time. To prove a causal link, it will be necessary to undertake a randomized controlled trial in which the outcomes of groups of children with asthma who are chosen at random to undergo or not undergo adenotonsillectomy are compared. However, with the proviso that there are some risks associated with adenotonsillectomy, these findings suggest that the detection and treatment of adenotonsillar hypertrophy may help to improve asthma control in children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001753.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on asthma, including videos, games, and links to other resources for children with asthma
The American Lung Association provides detailed information about asthma and a fact sheet on asthma in children; it also has information about obstructive sleep apnea
The National Sleep Foundation provides information on snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in children
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including some personal stories) about asthma, about asthma in children, and about obstructive sleep apnea
The “Global Asthma Report 2014” will be available in October 2014
MedlinePlus provides links to further information on asthma, on asthma in children, on sleep apnea, and on tonsils and adenoids (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001753
PMCID: PMC4219664  PMID: 25369282
6.  Pack Years of Cigarette Smoking as a Prognostic Factor in Patients with Stage IIIB/IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Cancer  2010;116(3):670-675.
Background
We undertook this study to characterize the relationship between survival of patients with stage IIIB/IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and pack years of cigarette smoking.
Methods
We analyzed data from patients with stage IIIB/IV NSCLC who had completed a prospective smoking questionnaire. We evaluated the impact of pack years of cigarette smoking, age, sex, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), and presence of weight loss >5% on overall survival using univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results
Smoking history and clinical data were available for 2,010 patients with stage IIIB/IV NSCLC (1004 women, 1006 men). Seventy percent (1409) smoked >15 pack years, 13% (270) were former and current smokers who had smoked ≤ 15 pack years, and 16% (331) were never smokers (<100 lifetime cigarettes). Never smokers had a longer median survival relative to former or current smokers (17.8 months vs 11.3 months, log rank p<0.001). Among smokers, patients with ≤ 15 pack year history of smoking had a longer median survival than patients who had smoked > 15 pack years (14.6 months vs 10.8 months, log rank p =0.03). As the number of pack years increased, the median overall survival decreased (log rank p <0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that history of smoking was an independent prognostic factor (Hazard Ratio 1.36; p<0.001).
Conclusions
More cigarette smoking, measured in pack years, was associated with decreased survival after diagnosis of stage IIIB/IV NSCLC. Trials assessing survival in stage IIIB/IV NSCLC should report detailed cigarette smoking history for all patients.
doi:10.1002/cncr.24813
PMCID: PMC2815173  PMID: 20029977
7.  Effects of BMI, Fat Mass, and Lean Mass on Asthma in Childhood: A Mendelian Randomization Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(7):e1001669.
In this study, Granell and colleagues used Mendelian randomization to investigate causal effects of BMI, fat mass, and lean mass on current asthma at age 7½ years in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and found that higher BMI increases the risk of asthma in mid-childhood.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Observational studies have reported associations between body mass index (BMI) and asthma, but confounding and reverse causality remain plausible explanations. We aim to investigate evidence for a causal effect of BMI on asthma using a Mendelian randomization approach.
Methods and Findings
We used Mendelian randomization to investigate causal effects of BMI, fat mass, and lean mass on current asthma at age 7½ y in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). A weighted allele score based on 32 independent BMI-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was derived from external data, and associations with BMI, fat mass, lean mass, and asthma were estimated. We derived instrumental variable (IV) estimates of causal risk ratios (RRs). 4,835 children had available data on BMI-associated SNPs, asthma, and BMI. The weighted allele score was strongly associated with BMI, fat mass, and lean mass (all p-values<0.001) and with childhood asthma (RR 2.56, 95% CI 1.38–4.76 per unit score, p = 0.003). The estimated causal RR for the effect of BMI on asthma was 1.55 (95% CI 1.16–2.07) per kg/m2, p = 0.003. This effect appeared stronger for non-atopic (1.90, 95% CI 1.19–3.03) than for atopic asthma (1.37, 95% CI 0.89–2.11) though there was little evidence of heterogeneity (p = 0.31). The estimated causal RRs for the effects of fat mass and lean mass on asthma were 1.41 (95% CI 1.11–1.79) per 0.5 kg and 2.25 (95% CI 1.23–4.11) per kg, respectively. The possibility of genetic pleiotropy could not be discounted completely; however, additional IV analyses using FTO variant rs1558902 and the other BMI-related SNPs separately provided similar causal effects with wider confidence intervals. Loss of follow-up was unlikely to bias the estimated effects.
Conclusions
Higher BMI increases the risk of asthma in mid-childhood. Higher BMI may have contributed to the increase in asthma risk toward the end of the 20th century.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The global burden of asthma, a chronic (long-term) condition caused by inflammation of the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs), has been rising steadily over the past few decades. It is estimated that, nowadays, 200–300 million adults and children worldwide are affected by asthma. Although asthma can develop at any age, it is often diagnosed in childhood—asthma is the most common chronic disease in children. In people with asthma, the airways can react very strongly to allergens such as animal fur or to irritants such as cigarette smoke, becoming narrower so that less air can enter the lungs. Exercise, cold air, and infections can also trigger asthma attacks, which can be fatal. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma cannot be cured, but drugs can relieve its symptoms and prevent acute asthma attacks.
Why Was This Study Done?
We cannot halt the ongoing rise in global asthma rates without understanding the causes of asthma. Some experts think obesity may be one cause of asthma. Obesity, like asthma, is increasingly common, and observational studies (investigations that ask whether individuals exposed to a suspected risk factor for a condition develop that condition more often than unexposed individuals) in children have reported that body mass index (BMI, an indicator of body fat calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared) is positively associated with asthma. Observational studies cannot prove that obesity causes asthma because of “confounding.” Overweight children with asthma may share another unknown characteristic (confounder) that actually causes both obesity and asthma. Moreover, children with asthma may be less active than unaffected children, so they become overweight (reverse causality). Here, the researchers use “Mendelian randomization” to assess whether BMI has a causal effect on asthma. In Mendelian randomization, causality is inferred from associations between genetic variants that mimic the effect of a modifiable risk factor and the outcome of interest. Because gene variants are inherited randomly, they are not prone to confounding and are free from reverse causation. So, if a higher BMI leads to asthma, genetic variants associated with increased BMI should be associated with an increased risk of asthma.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers investigated causal effects of BMI, fat mass, and lean mass on current asthma at age 7½ years in 4,835 children enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, a long-term health project that started in 1991). They calculated an allele score for each child based on 32 BMI-related genetic variants, and estimated associations between this score and BMI, fat mass and lean mass (both measured using a special type of X-ray scanner; in children BMI is not a good indicator of “fatness”), and asthma. They report that the allele score was strongly associated with BMI, fat mass, and lean mass, and with childhood asthma. The estimated causal relative risk (risk ratio) for the effect of BMI on asthma was 1.55 per kg/m2. That is, the relative risk of asthma increased by 55% for every extra unit of BMI. The estimated causal relative risks for the effects of fat mass and lean mass on asthma were 1.41 per 0.5 kg and 2.25 per kg, respectively.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that a higher BMI increases the risk of asthma in mid-childhood and that global increases in BMI toward the end of the 20th century may have contributed to the global increase in asthma that occurred at the same time. It is possible that the observed association between BMI and asthma reported in this study is underpinned by “genetic pleiotropy” (a potential limitation of all Mendelian randomization analyses). That is, some of the genetic variants included in the BMI allele score could conceivably also increase the risk of asthma. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that public health interventions designed to reduce obesity may also help to limit the global rise in asthma.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001669.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on asthma and on all aspects of overweight and obesity (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information on asthma and on obesity (in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about asthma, about asthma in children, and about obesity (including real stories)
The Global Asthma Report 2011 is available
The Global Initiative for Asthma released its updated Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention on World Asthma Day 2014
Information about the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children is available
MedlinePlus provides links to further information on obesity in children, on asthma, and on asthma in children (in English and Spanish
Wikipedia has a page on Mendelian randomization (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001669
PMCID: PMC4077660  PMID: 24983943
8.  Regular Smoking and Asthma Incidence in Adolescents 
Rationale: Although involuntary exposure to maternal smoking during the in utero period and to secondhand smoke are associated with occurrence of childhood asthma, few studies have investigated the role of active cigarette smoking on asthma onset during adolescence.
Objectives: To determine whether regular smoking is associated with the new onset of asthma during adolescence.
Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study among 2,609 children with no lifetime history of asthma or wheezing who were recruited from fourth- and seventh-grade classrooms and followed annually in schools in 12 southern California communities. Regular smoking was defined as smoking at least seven cigarettes per day on average over the week before and 300 cigarettes in the year before each annual interview. Incident asthma was defined using new cases of physician-diagnosed asthma.
Measurements and Main Results: Regular smoking was associated with increased risk of new-onset asthma. Children who reported smoking 300 or more cigarettes per year had a relative risk (RR) of 3.9 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.7–8.5) for new-onset asthma compared with nonsmokers. The increased risk from regular smoking was greater in nonallergic than in allergic children. Regular smokers who were exposed to maternal smoking during gestation had the largest risk from active smoking (RR, 8.8; 95% CI, 3.2–24.0).
Conclusions: Regular smoking increased risk for asthma among adolescents, especially for nonallergic adolescents and those exposed to maternal smoking during the in utero period.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200605-722OC
PMCID: PMC2648110  PMID: 16973983
asthma; epidemiology; smoking
9.  Results from a community-based program evaluating the effect of changing smoking status on asthma symptom control 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:293.
Background
Cigarette smoking has been associated with accelerated decline in lung function, increased health services use and asthma severity in patients with asthma. Previous studies have provided insight into how smoking cessation improves lung function among asthma patients, however, fail to provide measurable asthma symptom-specific outcomes after smoking cessation. The objective of this study was to measure the effect of changing smoking status on asthma symptom control and health services use in adults with asthma.
Methods
The study was conducted in eight primary care practices across Ontario, Canada participating in a community-based, participatory, and evidence-based Asthma Care Program. Patients aged 18 to 55 identified with physician-diagnosed mild to moderate asthma were recruited. In addition to receiving clinical asthma care, participants were administered a questionnaire at baseline and 12-month follow-up visits to collect information on demographics, smoking status, asthma symptoms and routine health services use. The effect of changing smoking status on asthma symptom control was compared between smoking groups using Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests where appropriate. Mixed effect models were used to measure the impact of the change in smoking status on asthma symptom and health services use while adjusting for covariates.
Results
This study included 519 patients with asthma; 11% of baseline smokers quit smoking while 4% of baseline non-smokers started smoking by follow-up. Individuals who quit smoking had 80% lower odds of having tightness in the chest (Odds ratio (OR) = 0.21, 95% CI: 0.06, 0.82) and 76% lower odds of night-time symptoms (OR = 0.24, 95% CI: 0.07, 0.85) compared to smokers who continued to smoke. Compared to those who remained non-smokers, those who had not been smoking at baseline but self-reported as current smoker at follow-up had significantly higher odds of chest tightness (OR = 1.36, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.70), night-time symptoms (OR = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.09, 2.20), having an asthma attack in the last six months (OR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.17, 1.75) and visiting a walk-in clinic for asthma (OR = 4.57, 95% CI: 1.44, 14.49).
Conclusions
This study provides practitioners measurable and clinically important findings that associate smoking cessation with improved asthma control. Health practitioners and asthma programs can use powerful education messages to emphasize the benefits of smoking cessation as a priority to current smokers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-293
PMCID: PMC3464678  PMID: 22520046
10.  Smoking and prevalence of allergic disorders in Japanese pregnant women: baseline data from the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study 
Environmental Health  2012;11:15.
Background
Studies on the associations between smoking and allergic diseases have mostly focused on asthma. Epidemiological studies in adults on the effects of smoking on allergic diseases other than asthma, such as eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis, have been limited, and the information that is available has been inconsistent. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between smoking status and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure and the prevalence of allergic diseases.
Methods
Study subjects were 1743 pregnant Japanese women. The definitions of wheeze and asthma were based on criteria from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey whereas those of eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis were based on criteria from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood. Adjustment was made for age; region of residence; family history of asthma, atopic eczema, and allergic rhinitis; household income; and education.
Results
Compared with never smoking, current smoking and ≥ 4 pack-years of smoking were independently positively associated with the prevalence of wheeze. There were no associations between smoking status and the prevalence of asthma, eczema, or rhinoconjunctivitis. When subjects who had never smoked were classified into four categories based on the source of ETS exposure (never, only at home, only at work, and both), exposure occurring both at home and at work was independently associated with an increased prevalence of two outcomes: wheeze and rhinoconjunctivitis. No relationships were observed between exposure to ETS and the prevalence of asthma or eczema.
Conclusions
Our results provide evidence that current smoking and ETS exposure may increase the likelihood of wheeze. The possibility of a positive association between ETS exposure and rhinoconjunctivitis was also suggested.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-11-15
PMCID: PMC3317840  PMID: 22413964
Asthma; Cross-sectional studies; Eczema; Environmental tobacco smoke; Smoking; Wheeze; Rhinoconjunctivitis
11.  Smoking and Prostate Cancer Survival and Recurrence 
Context
Studies of smoking in relation to prostate cancer mortality or recurrence in prostate cancer patients are limited, with few prostate cancer-specific outcomes.
Objective
To assess the relation of cigarette smoking and smoking cessation with overall, prostate cancer-specific, and CVD mortality and biochemical recurrence among men with prostate cancer.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Prospective observational study of 5 366 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1986–2006 in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
Main Outcome Measures
Hazard ratios (HRs) for overall, prostate cancer-specific, and CVD mortality, and biochemical recurrence, defined by PSA rise.
Results
We documented 1,630 deaths, 524 (32%) due to prostate cancer and 416 (26%) due to CVD, and 878 biochemical recurrences. The absolute crude rates for prostate cancer-specific death for never smokers vs. current smokers were 9.6 vs. 15.3 per 1,000 person-years; for all-cause mortality the corresponding rates were 27.3 and 53.0 per 1,000 person-years. In multivariable analysis, compared with never smokers, current smokers had an increased risk of prostate cancer mortality (HR, 1.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11–2.32 and among men with clinical stage T1–T3: HR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.04–3.12), biochemical recurrence (HR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.16–2.22), total mortality (HR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.87–2.80), and CVD mortality (HR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.39–3.26). After adjusting for clinical stage and grade which are likely intermediates of the relation of smoking with prostate cancer recurrence and survival, the estimates for current smoking were as follows: prostate cancer mortality (HR, 1.38; 95% CI, 0.94–2.03 and HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 0.80–2.49); biochemical recurrence (HR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.06–2.04). A greater number of pack-years was associated with a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer mortality but not biochemical recurrence: for current smokers of 40+ pack-years compared to never smokers: prostate cancer mortality (HR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.03–3.20; biochemical recurrence (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 0.88–2.48). Compared to current smokers, those who had quit smoking for 10 or more years, or who had quit for less than 10 years but smoked less than 20 pack-years, had prostate cancer mortality risks similar to never smokers: former smoker, quit 10+ years (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.42–0.87); quit <10 years and <20 pack-years (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.28–1.45); never smoker (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.42–0.88).
Conclusions
Smoking at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis is associated with increased overall and CVD mortality and prostate cancer-specific mortality and recurrence. 10-year quitters have prostate cancer-specific mortality risks similar to never smokers.
doi:10.1001/jama.2011.879
PMCID: PMC3562349  PMID: 21693743
12.  Smoking and age related macular degeneration: the number of pack years of cigarette smoking is a major determinant of risk for both geographic atrophy and choroidal neovascularisation 
Background/aims
There is evidence that smoking is a risk factor for age related macular degeneration (AMD). However, not all studies have demonstrated this association and several key questions about the role of smoking in AMD have still to be determined. The aim of this study was to further investigate this relation for both choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) and geographic atrophy (GA).
Methods
To investigate the relation between smoking and the risk of developing age related macular degeneration (AMD) in white people, 435 cases with end stage AMD were compared with 280 controls. All subjects had graded stereoscopic colour fundus photography and AMD was defined as the presence of GA or CNV. Smoking history was assessed using multiple parameters in a detailed questionnaire.
Results
Comparison of current and former smokers with non‐smokers was consistent with smoking being a risk factor for AMD but did not reach statistical significance. There was a strong association between AMD and pack years of cigarette smoking (p = 0.002), the odds ratio increasing with the amount smoked; for subjects with more than 40 pack years of smoking the odds ratio was 2.75 (95% CI 1.22 to 6.20) compared with non‐smokers. Both types of AMD showed a similar relation; smoking more than 40 pack years of cigarettes was associated with an odds ratio of 3.43 (95% CI 1.28 to 9.20) for GA and 2.49 (95% CI 1.06 to 5.82) for CNV. Stopping smoking was associated with reduced odds of AMD and the risk in those who had not smoked for over 20 years was comparable to non‐smokers. The risk profile was similar for males and females. Passive smoking exposure was associated with an increased risk of AMD (OR 1.87; 95% CI 1.03 to 3.40) in non‐smokers.
Conclusions
The authors have demonstrated a strong association between the risk of both GA and CNV and pack years of cigarette smoking. This provides support for a causal relation between smoking and AMD. They also show an increased risk for AMD in non‐smokers exposed to passive smoking. Stopping smoking appears to reduce the risk of developing AMD.
doi:10.1136/bjo.2005.073643
PMCID: PMC1856879  PMID: 16361672
age related macular degeneration; smoking; case control
13.  Cigarette smoking gives more respiratory symptoms among women than among men The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) 
STUDY OBJECTIVE—Studies have indicated that women are more vulnerable to the effect of tobacco smoking compared with men. The aim of this study was to explore the prevalence of reported respiratory symptoms and diseases according to smoking burden, age and sex.
DESIGN—Questionnaire in a cross sectional population based study.
SETTING—The BONT (Bronchial obstruction in Nord-Trøndelag) study is part of a comprehensive health survey of all inhabitants aged above 19 years in the county of Nord-Trøndelag, Norway, which was carried out from 1995 to 1997.
PARTICIPANTS—A total of 65 717 subjects, 71.3% of the total population aged 20-100, answered the main questionnaire.
MAIN RESULTS—In all, 12.7% men and 12.1% women reported episodes of wheezing or breathlessness during the past 12 months, 8.8% men and 8.4% women reported that they had or had had asthma, 7.5% men and 8.2% women had ever used asthma medication, and 4.0% men and 3.0% women reported chronic bronchitis. Thirty per cent of men and 31% of women were smokers, and average pack years of smoking were 15.9 and 10.3, respectively. Among previous and current smokers, significant more women reported episodes of wheezing or breathlessness, current asthma and persistent coughing compared with men with the same smoke burden (pack years) and daily number of cigarettes.
CONCLUSION—The prevalence of reported asthma and use of asthma medication was higher than reported in previous Scandinavian studies. Respiratory symptoms increased by smoking burden. Comparing the prevalence of symptoms and current asthma among women and men with the same smoke burden or daily cigarette consumption, women seemed to be more susceptible to the effect of tobacco smoking than men.


Keywords: asthma; chronic bronchitis; coughing; tobacco smoking
doi:10.1136/jech.54.12.917
PMCID: PMC1731608  PMID: 11076988
14.  Impact of active and passive smoking as risk factors for asthma and COPD in women presenting to primary care in Syria: first report by the WHO-GARD survey group 
Background
The burden of chronic respiratory disease (CRD) is alarming. International studies suggest that women with CRD are undersurveyed and underdiagnosed by physicians worldwide. It is unclear what the prevalence of CRD is in the general population of Syria, particularly among women, since there has never been a survey on CRD in this nation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of different patterns of smoking on CRD in women.
Materials and methods
We extracted data on smoking patterns and outcome in women from the Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases survey. Using spirometric measurements before and after the use of inhaled bronchodilators, we tracked the frequency of CRD in females active and passive narghile or cigarette smokers presenting to primary care. We administered the questionnaire to 788 randomly selected females seen during 1 week in the fiscal year 2009–2010 in 22 primary care centers in six different regions of Syria. Inclusion criteria were age >6 years, presenting for any medical complaint. In this cross-sectional study, three groups of female subjects were evaluated: active smokers of cigarettes, active smokers of narghiles, and passive smokers of either cigarettes or narghiles. These three groups were compared to a control group of female subjects not exposed to active or passive smoking.
Results
Exposure to active cigarette smoke but not narghile smoke was associated with doctor-diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, neither cigarette nor narghile active smoking was associated with increased incidence of spirometrically diagnosed COPD. Paradoxically, exposure to passive smoking of either cigarettes or narghiles resulted in association with airway obstruction, defined as forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) < 70% according to the Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria; association with FEV1 < 80% predicted, evidencing moderate to severe GOLD spirometric grade, and doctor-diagnosed COPD. Physicians tend to underdiagnose COPD in women who present to primary care clinics. Whereas around 15% of enrolled women had evidence of COPD with FEV1/FVC < 70% after bronchodilators, only 4.8% were physician-diagnosed. Asthma did not appear to be a significant spirometric finding in these female subjects, although around 11% had physician-diagnosed asthma. One limitation is FEV1/FVC < 70% could have also resulted from uncontrolled asthma. The same limitation has been reported by the Proyecto Latinoamericano de Investigacion en Obstruccion Pulmonar (PLATINO) study.
Conclusion
Contrary to popular belief in developing countries, women exposed to tobacco smoke, whether active or passive, and whether by cigarettes or narghiles, like men are at increased risk for the development of COPD, although cultural habits and taboos may decrease the risk of active smoking in some women.
Recommendations
These findings will be considered for country and region strategy for noncommunicable diseases, to overcome underdiagnosis of CRD in women, fight widespread female cigarette and narghile smoking, and promote behavioral research in this field.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S50551
PMCID: PMC3794890  PMID: 24124359
passive smoking; women; COPD; asthma; narghile; water pipe; behavior
15.  Childhood smoking is an independent risk factor for obstructive airways disease in women 
Thorax  2004;59(8):682-686.
Objective: To assess whether starting to smoke in childhood increases the risk of obstructive airways disease (OAD) in adult life.
Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis was undertaken of 12 504 current and ex-smokers in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. The main exposure was starting to smoke during childhood (age <16 years). Three definitions of OAD were used: doctor diagnosed asthma, doctor diagnosed bronchitis/emphysema, and "any OAD" (doctor diagnosed asthma or bronchitis/emphysema, or taking medication used in the treatment of OAD).
Results: Childhood smokers had significantly more pack years of exposure and poorer lung function than subjects who started to smoke in adulthood (⩾16 years). Compared with starting in adulthood, starting to smoke in childhood was associated with a greater risk of bronchitis/emphysema in female smokers (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.25 to 2.56) and ex-smokers of both sexes (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.55 in men and OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.85 in women), and of "any OAD" in female smokers (OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.38) and male and female ex-smokers (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.40 in men and 1.34, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.57 in women). After adjustment for pack years, childhood smoking was associated with poorer lung function (FEV1 92.3% predicted in adult smokers and 89.5% in childhood smokers, p = 0.03) and a greater risk of bronchitis/emphysema (adjusted OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.08 to 2.24) and for "any OAD" (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.13) in female smokers but not in male and female ex-smokers.
Conclusion: Starting to smoke in childhood is associated with an increased risk of airways disease because of the extra pack years smoked. In women, childhood smoking is itself an independent risk factor for the development of airways disease.
doi:10.1136/thx.2003.010215
PMCID: PMC1747099  PMID: 15282389
16.  Passive Smoking Is Associated with Poor Asthma Control during Pregnancy: A Prospective Study of 500 Pregnancies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112435.
Background and Aim
Asthma and tobacco exposure is common among pregnant women. We investigated the effect of passive and active smoking on asthma control during pregnancy.
Methods
Prospective observational design. Patients had their asthma control, based on symptoms, use of medication, spirometry, and exhaled nitric oxide [FENO], assessed every four weeks during 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy; data on tobacco exposure were also collected prospectively. The primary outcome was episodes of uncontrolled and partly controlled asthma during pregnancy (defined according to GINA-guidelines).
Results
A total of 500 pregnant women with asthma (mean age 30.8 years, range 17 to 44) were consecutively included, of whom 32 (6.4%), 115 (23.0%) and 353 (70.6%), respectively, were current smokers, ex-smokers and never smokers [NS]. Sixty-five NS (18.4%) reported passive tobacco exposure. NS with passive tobacco exposure had significantly lower FEV1% predicted (p<0.02) and FENO (p = 0.01) compared to NS without passive tobacco exposure. The relative risk [RR] of an episode of uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy was 4.5 (95% CI 2.7–7.5: p<0.001) in current and ex-smokers compared with never smokers, and 2.9 (95% CI 1.4–5.9; p = 0.004) in NS-women with passive tobacco exposure compared with NS-women not reporting passive tobacco exposure. Treatment with inhaled corticosteroids, most likely as a marker of more severe asthma, was also associated with a higher risk (RR 8.1, 95% CI 5.1–13.0; p<0.001) of an episode of uncontrolled asthma.
Conclusion
Passive tobacco exposure in never smokers is associated with an increased risk of episodes of uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy, which is likely to have adverse effects on pregnancy outcome.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112435
PMCID: PMC4237341  PMID: 25409513
17.  Smoking and high-risk mammographic parenchymal patterns: a case-control study 
Breast Cancer Research  1999;2(1):59-63.
Current smoking was strongly and inversely associated with high-risk patterns, after adjustment for concomitant risk factors. Relative to never smokers, current smokers were significantly less likely to have a high-risk pattern. Similar results were obtained when the analysis was confined to postmenopausal women. Past smoking was not related to the mammographic parenchymal patterns. The overall effect in postmenopausal women lost its significance when adjusted for other risk factors for P2/DY patterns that were found to be significant in the present study, although the results are still strongly suggestive. The present data indicate that adjustment for current smoking status is important when evaluating the relationship between mammographic parenchymal pattern and breast cancer risk. They also indicate that smoking is a prominent potential confounder when analyzing effects of other risk factors such as obesity-related variables. It appears that parenchymal patterns may act as an informative biomarker of the effect of cigarette smoking on breast cancer risk.
Introduction:
Overall, epidemiological studies [1,2,3,4] have reported no substantial association between cigarette smoking and the risk of breast cancer. Some studies [5,6,7] reported a significant increase of breast cancer risk among smokers. In recent studies that addressed the association between breast cancer and cigarette smoking, however, there was some suggestion of a decreased risk [8,9,10], especially among current smokers, ranging from approximately 10 to 30% [9,10]. Brunet et al [11] reported that smoking might reduce the risk of breast cancer by 44% in carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. Wolfe [12] described four different mammographic patterns created by variations in the relative amounts of fat, epithelial and connective tissue in the breast, designated N1, P1, P2 and DY. Women with either P2 or DY pattern are considered at greater risk for breast cancer than those with N1 or P1 pattern [12,13,14,15]. There are no published studies that assessed the relationship between smoking and mammographic parenchymal patterns.
Aims:
To evaluate whether mammographic parenchymal patterns as classified by Wolfe, which have been positively associated with breast cancer risk, are affected by smoking. In this case-control study, nested within the European Prospective Investigation on Cancer in Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk) cohort [16], the association between smoking habits and mammographic parenchymal patterns are examined. The full results will be published elsewhere.
Methods:
Study subjects were members of the EPIC cohort in Norwich who also attended the prevalence screening round at the Norwich Breast Screening Centre between November 1989 and December 1997, and were free of breast cancer at that screening. Cases were defined as women with a P2/DY Wolfe's mammographic parenchymal pattern on the prevalence screen mammograms. A total of 203 women with P2/DY patterns were identified as cases and were individually matched by date of birth (within 1 year) and date of prevalence screening (within 3 months) with 203 women with N1/P1 patterns who served as control individuals.
Two views, the mediolateral and craniocaudal mammograms, of both breasts were independently reviewed by two of the authors (ES and RW) to determine the Wolfe mammographic parenchymal pattern.
Considerable information on health and lifestyle factors was available from the EPIC Health and Lifestyle Questionnaire [16]. In the present study we examined the subjects' personal history of benign breast diseases, menstrual and reproductive factors, oral contraception and hormone replacement therapy, smoking, and anthropometric information such as body mass index and waist:hip ratio.
Odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by conditional logistic regression [17], and were adjusted for possible confounding factors.
Results:
The characteristics of the cases and controls are presented in Table 1. Cases were leaner than controls. A larger percentage of cases were nulliparous, premenopausal, current hormone replacement therapy users, had a personal history of benign breast diseases, and had had a hysterectomy. A larger proportion of controls had more than three births and were current smokers.
Table 2 shows the unadjusted and adjusted OR estimates for Wolfe's high-risk mammographic parenchymal patterns and smoking in the total study population and in postmenopausal women separately. Current smoking was strongly and inversely associated with high-risk patterns, after adjustment for concomitant risk factors. Relative to never smokers, current smokers were significantly less likely to have a high-risk pattern (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14-0.94). Similar results were obtained when the analysis was confined to postmenopausal women. Past smoking was not related to mammographic parenchymal patterns. The overall effect in postmenopausal women lost its significance when adjusted for other risk factors for P2/DY patterns that were found to be significant in the present study, although the results were still strongly suggestive. There was no interaction between cigarette smoking and body mass index.
Discussion:
In the present study we found a strong inverse relationship between current smoking and high-risk mammographic parenchymal patterns of breast tissue as classified by Wolfe [12]. These findings are not completely unprecedented; Greendale et al [18] found a reduced risk of breast density in association with smoking, although the magnitude of the reduction was unclear. The present findings suggest that this reduction is large.
Recent studies [9,10] have suggested that breast cancer risk may be reduced among current smokers. In a multicentre Italian case-control study, Braga et al [10] found that, relative to nonsmokers, current smokers had a reduced risk of breast cancer (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.7-1.0). These findings were recently supported by Gammon et al [9], who reported that breast cancer risk in younger women (younger than 45 years) may be reduced among current smokers who began smoking at an early age (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.41-0.85 for age 15 years or younger) and among long-term smokers (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.52-0.94 for those who had smoked for 21 years or more).
The possible protective effect of smoking might be due to its anti-oestrogenic effect [1,2,19]. Recently there has been renewed interest in the potential effect of smoking on breast cancer risk, and whether individuals may respond differently on the basis of differences in metabolism of bioproducts of smoking [20,21]. Different relationships between smoking and breast cancer risk have been suggested that are dependent on the rapid or slow status of acetylators of aromatic amines [20,21]. More recent studies [22,23], however, do not support these findings.
The present study design minimized the opportunity for bias to influence the findings. Because subjects were unaware of their own case-control status, the possibility of recall bias in reporting smoking status was minimized. Systematic error in the assessment of mammograms was avoided because reading was done without knowledge of the risk factor data. Furthermore, the associations observed are unlikely to be explained by the confounding effect of other known breast cancer risk factors, because we adjusted for these in the analysis. We did not have information on passive smoking status, however, which has recently been reported to be a possible confounder [5,6,21,24].
The present data indicate that adjustment for current smoking status is important when evaluating the relationship between mammographic parenchymal pattern and breast cancer risk. They also indicate smoking as a prominent potential confounder when analyzing effects of other risk factors such as obesity-related variables. It seems that parenchymal patterns may act as an informative biomarker of the effect of cigarette smoking on breast cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC13911  PMID: 11056684
mammography; screening; smoking; Wolfe's parenchymal patterns
18.  Influence of current or former smoking on asthma management and control 
BACKGROUND:
In patients with asthma, smoking has been associated with accelerated decline in pulmonary function, poor disease control and reduced responsiveness to corticosteroids.
OBJECTIVE:
To assess the influence of current and former smoking on self-reported asthma control and health care use in a large population of asthma patients.
METHODS:
The present analysis was conducted following a telephone survey of adult Canadians aged 18 to 54 years who had physician-diagnosed asthma and a smoking history of less than 20 pack-years.
RESULTS:
Of 893 patients, 268 were former smokers and 108 were current smokers. Daytime and nighttime symptoms, absenteeism from work or school, emergency care use for asthma in the past year, and use of a short-acting bronchodilator without controller medication were reported more frequently by current smokers than non-smokers and former smokers. Former smokers were not significantly different from nonsmokers with respect to most asthma outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS:
Current smokers with asthma show evidence of poorer asthma control and greater acute care needs than lifelong nonsmokers or former smokers. These observations stress the importance of smoking cessation to help achieve asthma control.
PMCID: PMC2679551  PMID: 18716691
Asthma; Asthma control; Asthma management; Smoking
19.  A Case–Control Study of Smoking and Bladder Cancer Risk: Emergent Patterns Over Time 
Background
Cigarette smoking is a well-established risk factor for bladder cancer. The effects of smoking duration, intensity (cigarettes per day), and total exposure (pack-years); smoking cessation; exposure to environmental tobacco smoke; and changes in the composition of tobacco and cigarette design over time on risk of bladder cancer are unclear.
Methods
We examined bladder cancer risk in relation to smoking practices based on interview data from a large, population-based case–control study conducted in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont from 2001 to 2004 (N = 1170 urothelial carcinoma case patients and 1413 control subjects). We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using unconditional logistic regression. To examine changes in smoking-induced bladder cancer risk over time, we compared odds ratios from New Hampshire residents in this study (305 case patients and 335 control subjects) with those from two case–control studies conducted in New Hampshire in 1994–1998 and in 1998–2001 (843 case patients and 1183 control subjects).
Results
Regular and current cigarette smokers had higher risks of bladder cancer than never-smokers (for regular smokers, OR = 3.0, 95% CI = 2.4 to 3.6; for current smokers, OR = 5.2, 95% CI = 4.0 to 6.6). In New Hampshire, there was a statistically significant increasing trend in smoking-related bladder cancer risk over three consecutive periods (1994–1998, 1998–2001, and 2002–2004) among former smokers (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.0 to 2.0; OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.4 to 2.9; and OR = 2.6, 95% CI = 1.7 to 4.0, respectively) and current smokers (OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 2.0 to 4.2; OR = 4.2, 95% CI = 2.8 to 6.3; OR = 5.5, 95% CI = 3.5 to 8.9, respectively) (P for homogeneity of trends over time periods = .04). We also observed that within categories of intensity, odds ratios increased approximately linearly with increasing pack-years smoked, but the slope of the increasing trend declined with increasing intensity.
Conclusions
Smoking-related risks of bladder cancer appear to have increased in New Hampshire since the mid-1990s. Based on our modeling of pack-years and intensity, smoking fewer cigarettes over a long time appears more harmful than smoking more cigarettes over a shorter time, for equal total pack-years of cigarettes smoked.
doi:10.1093/jnci/djp361
PMCID: PMC2778671  PMID: 19917915
20.  Smoking in Asthma Is Associated with Elevated Levels of Corticosteroid Resistant Sputum Cytokines—An Exploratory Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71460.
Background
Current cigarette smoking is associated with reduced acute responses to corticosteroids and worse clinical outcomes in stable chronic asthma. The mechanism by which current smoking promotes this altered behavior is currently unclear. Whilst cytokines can induce corticosteroid insensitivity in-vitro, how current and former smoking affects airway cytokine concentrations and their responses to oral corticosteroids in stable chronic asthma is unclear.
Objectives
To examine blood and sputum cytokine concentrations in never, ex and current smokers with asthma before and after oral corticosteroids.
Methods
Exploratory study utilizing two weeks of oral dexamethasone (equivalent to 40 mg/day prednisolone) in 22 current, 21 never and 10 ex-smokers with asthma. Induced sputum supernatant and plasma was obtained before and after oral dexamethasone. 25 cytokines were measured by multiplex microbead system (Invitrogen, UK) on a Luminex platform.
Results
Smokers with asthma had elevated sputum cytokine interleukin (IL) -6, -7, and -12 concentrations compared to never smokers with asthma. Few sputum cytokine concentrations changed in response to dexamethasone IL-17 and IFNα increased in smokers, CCL4 increased in never smokers and CCL5 and CXCL10 reduced in ex-smokers with asthma. Ex-smokers with asthma appeared to have evidence of an ongoing corticosteroid resistant elevation of cytokines despite smoking cessation. Several plasma cytokines were lower in smokers with asthma compared to never smokers with asthma.
Conclusion
Cigarette smoking in asthma is associated with a corticosteroid insensitive increase in multiple airway cytokines. Distinct airway cytokine profiles are present in current smokers and never smokers with asthma and could provide an explanatory mechanism for the altered clinical behavior observed in smokers with asthma.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071460
PMCID: PMC3739804  PMID: 23951170
21.  Different measures of smoking exposure and mammographic density in postmenopausal Norwegian women: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Recent cohort studies have suggested an increased risk of breast cancer with long duration of smoking, and with smoking initiation before first birth. Cigarette smoking may have both carcinogenic effects and antiestrogenic effects on the breast tissue. We decided to examine the relationship between different measures of smoking exposure and mammographic density.
Methods
Lifetime smoking history was collected through interview and questionnaires among 907 postmenopausal participants in the Tromsø Mammography and Breast Cancer study. The mammograms were obtained from the governmental Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program. Mammograms were classified according to the percentage and absolute mammographic densities using a previously validated computer-assisted method.
Results
Sixty-five percent of the women reported having ever smoked cigarettes, while 34% were current smokers. After adjustment for age, age at first birth, parity, age at menopause, postmenopausal hormone therapy use, and body mass index, smoking was inversely associated with both measures of mammographic density (both trends P < 0.01). Both current smokers and former smokers had significantly lower adjusted mean percentage mammographic density compared with never smokers (P = 0.003 and P = 0.006, respectively). An inverse dose–response relationship with mammographic density was found between both the number of cigarettes and the number of pack-years smoked among current smokers. Current smokers who smoked 11 cigarettes or more daily had a 3.7% absolute (36% relative difference) lower percentage mammographic density compared with current smokers who smoked seven cigarettes or less daily (P = 0.008). When former smokers were stratified according to time since smoking cessation, we found that women who had stopped smoking less than 24 years ago had a significantly lower mean percentage mammographic density compared with never smokers (P < 0.001).
Conclusion
We found modest inverse dose–response associations between numbers of cigarettes and of pack-years smoked and both measures of mammographic density among current smokers. Former smokers who had stopped smoking less than 24 years ago also had a statistically significantly lower mean percentage mammographic density when compared with never smokers. These findings are consistent with an antiestrogenic effect of cigarette smoking on the breast tissue.
doi:10.1186/bcr1782
PMCID: PMC2242671  PMID: 17963507
22.  334 Asthma in the Elderly: A Mexican Point of View 
The World Allergy Organization Journal  2012;5(Suppl 2):S124-S125.
Background
Asthma has been considered as mainly a childhood disease, however, 4 to 8% of the aged population suffer from it. In the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias, INER) Asthma's Clinic, in the year 2010, 1056 medical attention appointments were attended for patients of this group of age, representing 12.7% of total medical consults for asthma.
In this study we describing the characteristics of elderly patients with asthma of INER's Asthma Clinic.
Methods
Descriptive, transversal, retrospective research. One hundred sixty eight patients with asthma diagnosis were included, 60 years old and more, subjects with other respiratory diagnosis were excluded, as those with tobacco smoking of more than 10 packs, and those with exposure to other types of smoke.
Results
86% of the study group were women average age of 68.7 years old, the Forced Expiratory Volume in the first second (FEV1) average was of 76%. The 8.8% of patients had asthma diagnosed since childhood, and the rest onset with asthma symptoms at adulthood. Only 32% were submitted to skin prick tests; 4.5% suffered difficult asthma control; 56% of patients had overweight or obesity; 17.8% suffered Diabetes Mellitus type II, 37.5% had Arterial Systemic Hypertension and 3.75% had Ischemic Cardiopathy; 60% of patients had Gastroesophageal reflux symptoms, and 5% presented Obstructive sleep apnea. Most of the patients had a good control in Asthma Control Test (ACT).
Conclusions
Asthma can initiate at any age, the advanced age is not directly associated to certain changes in airway remodeling, or not major disease severity. There's a high persistence of co-morbilities. This study shows that it's necessary to study this age group further, a group that is gradually on the increase.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000412097.56837.2e
PMCID: PMC3513061
23.  559 Risk Factors for Bronchial Asthma in Central Havana in the Period 1995–2010 
Background
Results of research conducted in Havana (Centro Habana municipality's population) in the period 1995 to 2010 to evaluate possible risk factors for death from asthma are presented. The objective was to determine the correlation between the factors that influence asthma deaths in this country. Assessing risk factors for asthma death psychosocial factors, occupation, housing conditions, work and study center, smoking, comorbid illnesses by organ systems, level of care between exacerbations and in them, background risk of death from asthma, perennial or discontinuation of corticosteroids recent assistance to emergency services or hospitalization in the last year of the death, level of care between exacerbations and in them, and severity of the allergic family history and place and date of death.
Methods
We performed a retrospective study of cases with asthma that died of adult from 1995 to 2010. A total of 109, they surveyed the families of 65 for a 59.63% and an equal number of controls. Of all respondents 36 were women (55.39%) and 29 men (44.61%) and an average age of 55.8 years (53.7 for women and 58.4 for men).
Results
Univariate analysis of the level of schooling had a RD = 2.68, the per capita financial <$ 100.00 an RD = 2.32, smoking a RD = 2.76, in cardiovascular disease DR = 2.46 and no care between exacerbations had a RD = 2.43. The multivariate logistic regression analysis found significant association with a poorly ventilated RD = 7.29, relative risk (RR) of 5.93, lack of sun RD = 4.85 RR = 7.41; pets RD = 2 30, RR = 5.82; smokers RD = 2.76 RR = 14.81; the use of beta2 agonist> 3 teams/RD = 18.4 months RR = 69.93 and the severity of the disease RD = 8, 80 RR = 23.47.
Conclusions
Inadequate socioeconomic conditions (lack of ventilation, sun and presence of pets and cigarette smoke in households as poor management of the disease (use of beta 2 agonist > 3 teams / month) are risk factors for death from asthma. Deaths from asthma were more common outside the hospital in winter.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000411674.42161.29
PMCID: PMC3512646
24.  A population-based study of asthma, quality of life, and occupation among elderly Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites: a cross-sectional investigation 
BMC Public Health  2005;5:97.
Background
The U.S. population is aging and is expected to double by the year 2030. The current study evaluated the prevalence of asthma and its correlates in the elderly Hispanic and non-Hispanic white population.
Methods
Data from a sample of 3021 Hispanics and non-Hispanic White subjects, 65 years and older, interviewed as part of an ongoing cross-sectional study of the elderly in west Texas, were analyzed. The outcome variable was categorized into: no asthma (reference category), current asthma, and probable asthma. Polytomous logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between the outcome variable and various socio-demographic measures, self-rated health, asthma symptoms, quality of life measures (SF-12), and various occupations.
Results
The estimated prevalence of current asthma and probable asthma were 6.3% (95%CI: 5.3–7.2) and 9.0% (95%CI: 7.8–10.1) respectively. The majority of subjects with current asthma (Mean SF-12 score 35.8, 95%CI: 34.2–37.4) or probable asthma (35.3, 34.0–36.6) had significantly worse physical health-related quality of life as compared to subjects without asthma (42.6, 42.1–43.1). In multiple logistic regression analyses, women had a 1.64 times greater odds of current asthma (95%CI: 1.12–2.38) as compared to men. Hay fever was a strong predictor of both current and probable asthma. The odds of current asthma were 1.78 times (95%CI: 1.24–2.55) greater among past smokers; whereas the odds of probable asthma were 2.73 times (95%CI: 1.77–4.21) greater among current smokers as compared to non-smokers. Similarly fair/poor self rated health and complaints of severe pain were independently associated with current and probable asthma. The odds of current and probable asthma were almost two fold greater for obesity. When stratified by gender, the odds were significantly greater among females (p-value for interaction term = 0.038). The odds of current asthma were significantly greater for farm-related occupations (adjusted OR = 2.09, 95%CI: 1.00–4.39); whereas the odds were significantly lower among those who reported teaching as their longest held occupation (adjusted OR = 0.36, 95%CI = 0.18–0.74).
Conclusion
This study found that asthma is a common medical condition in the elderly and it significantly impacts quality of life and general health status. Results support adopting an integrated approach in identifying and controlling asthma in this population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-97
PMCID: PMC1249583  PMID: 16176583
25.  Asthma from childhood at age 21: the patient and his disease. 
Information was obtained from 336 21-year-olds who had begun wheezing before the age of 7 about their knowledge of asthma and its effect on their current life style. Two-thirds of the subjects were still symptomatic. A control group of 62 subjects was available for comparison. Knowledge about asthma was poor, particularly among those with less troublesome symptoms. Half of those with frequent episodic asthma and one-third with persistent asthma did not regard excess use of bronchodilator aerosols as potentially dangerous. Over three-quarters of those with persistent asthma were not receiving adequate treatment. One-third of third of those with persistent asthma were missing substantial time from work because of respiratory illness, and a similar proportion were restricting sporting activities. The incidence of smoking was disturbingly high in all asthma groups. The higher the number of cigarettes ever smoked and the higher the current tobacco consumption the less satisfactory was the progress of asthma. Both cigarette smoking and severity of asthma contributed to chronic production of sputum. Children and teenagers with asthma should be educated to seek more appropriate medical help and thereby reduce morbidity.
PMCID: PMC1495972  PMID: 6800466

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