Effects of cigarette smoking on rate of loss of pulmonary function in adults: a longitudinal assessment

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Nov;146(5 Pt 1):1345-8. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/146.5_Pt_1.1345.


Data from a random sample of 8,191 men and women selected in six U.S. cities and examined on three occasions over a 6-yr follow-up period were analyzed by longitudinal methods to describe the effects of smoking history and current smoking behavior on rate of loss of pulmonary function during adult life. Former smokers had age- and height-adjusted rates of decline (34.3 ml/yr for men and 29.6 ml/yr for women) comparable with those of never smokers (37.8 ml/yr for men and 29.0 ml/yr for women) but much smaller than those of continuing smokers (52.9 ml/yr for men and 38.0 ml/yr for women). The accelerated rate of loss of FEV1 among smokers depended linearly on the number of cigarettes smoked per day during the interval between examinations. The estimated increase in rate of loss associated with smoking was 12.6 ml/yr per pack/day for men and 7.2 ml/yr per pack/day for women. These longitudinal estimates of the effects of smoking were approximately 50% larger than estimates obtained from cross-sectional analysis of the initial pulmonary function examination. Men who started smoking had accelerated rates of loss (55.9 ml/yr) as did women (43.1 ml/yr). Smokers who stopped smoking between examinations had reduced declines (41.2 ml/yr for men and 28.7 ml/yr for women) compared with continuing smokers. The age-specific rates of loss suggest that the benefits of cessation may be greatest among the youngest smokers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Height
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vital Capacity / physiology*