Reduction in Pulmonary Function and Increased Frequency of Cough Associated With Passive Smoking in Teenage Athletes
Previous studies have suggested that passive smoking (involuntary inhalation of tobacco smoke by nonsmokers) reduces small airways function. We evaluated the exposure to passive smoking and its effects on pulmonary function and symptoms in a group of 12- to 17-year-old high school athletes (N = 209; 119 boys and 90 girls) at their annual presport participation physical examinations. A structured interview was used to assess pulmonary symptoms, personal smoking habits, and passive cigarette smoke exposure. All athletes performed forced expiratory maneuvers on a portable spirometer. We measured forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and forced expiratory flow 25% to 75% (FEF25-75). The best of three FEF25-75 measured was used. Less than 70% of predicted FEF25-75 was considered abnormal. Of the 209 athletes, 7.7% were active smokers and were excluded. Of the remaining 193 athletes, 68.4% were currently exposed to passive smoking. We found a fourfold increase in incidence of low FEF25-75 and/or cough in athletes exposed to passive smoking compared with athletes not exposed: 18 of 132 exposed athletes (13.6%) had low FEF25-75 and/or cough compared with two of 61 unexposed athletes (3.3%) who had low FEF25-75 and cough (P = .02). Boys were more frequently exposed to passive smoking than girls (74% of boys [80/108] v 61% of girls [52/85]), but the effects were more pronounced in girls. These data show a relationship between exposure to passive smoking and early pulmonary dysfunction in young athletes. The frequent exposure to passive smoke and the high prevalence of dysfunction in this population, generally considered to be healthy, is of particular concern.
- Received August 18, 1986.
- Accepted October 10, 1986.
- Copyright © 1987 by the American Academy of Pediatrics