Publication Abstract

Authors: Ostro BD

Title: Estimating the risks of smoking, air pollution, and passive smoke on acute respiratory conditions.

Journal: Risk Anal 9(2):189-96

Date: 1989 Jun

Abstract: Five years of the annual Health Interview Survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, are used to estimate the effects of air pollution, smoking, and environmental tobacco smoke on respiratory restrictions in activity for adults, and bed disability for children. After adjusting for several socioeconomic factors, the multiple regression estimates indicate that an independent and statistically significant association exists between these three forms of air pollution and respiratory morbidity. The comparative risks of these exposures are computed and the plausibility of the relative risks is examined by comparing the equivalent doses with actual measurements of exposure taken in the homes of smokers. The results indicate that: (1) smokers will have a 55-75% excess in days with respiratory conditions severe enough to cause reductions in normal activity; (2) a 1 microgram increase in fine particulate matter air pollution is associated with a 3% excess in acute respiratory disease; and (3) a pack-a-day smoker will increase respiratory restricted days for a nonsmoking spouse by 20% and increase the number of bed disability days for young children living in the household by 20%. The results also indicate that the estimates of the effects of secondhand smoking on children are improved when the mother's work status is known and incorporated into the exposure estimate.