The combined effect of exposures to vapours, gases, dusts, fumes and tobacco smoke on current asthma
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionClinical Respiratory Journal. 2022, 16 (6), 467-474. 10.1111/crj.13512
Smoking, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and occupational exposure to vapours, gases, dusts or fumes (VGDF) increase asthma symptoms. The impact of combined exposure is less well established. We aimed to evaluate the risk of combined exposure to smoking, ETS and VGDF on the prevalence of current asthma and asthma-related symptoms with a postal survey among a random population of 16,000 adults, aged 20–69 years (response rate 51.5%). The 836 responders with physician-diagnosed asthma were included in the analysis. Of them, 81.9% had current asthma defined as physician-diagnosed asthma with current asthma medication use or reported symptoms. There was a consistently increasing trend in the prevalence of current asthma by increased exposure. The highest prevalence of multiple symptoms was in smokers with VGDF exposure (92.1%) compared to the unexposed (73.9%, p = 0.001). In logistic regression analysis, combined exposure to several exposures increased the risk in all analysed symptoms (p = 0.002–0.007). In conclusion, smoking and exposure to ETS or VGDF increased the prevalence of current asthma and multiple symptoms. The combined exposure carried the highest risk. Preventive strategies are called for to mitigate exposure to tobacco smoke and VGDF.