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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.

  • asthma
  • chronic bronchitis
  • coughing
  • tobacco smoking

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