Environmental tobacco smoke and adult-onset asthma: a population-based incident case-control study

Am J Public Health. 2003 Dec;93(12):2055-60. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.12.2055.


Objectives: The authors assessed the effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on the development of asthma in adults.

Methods: In the Pirkanmaa district of South Finland, all 21- to 63-year-old adults with new cases of asthma diagnosed during a 2.5-year period (n = 521 case patients, out of 441 000 inhabitants) and a random sample of control subjects from the source population (932 control subjects) participated in a population-based incident case-control study.

Results: Risk of asthma was related to workplace ETS exposure (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.16; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.26, 3.72) and home exposure (OR = 4.77; 95% CI = 1.29, 17.7) in the past year. Cumulative ETS exposure over a lifetime at work and at home increased the risk.

Conclusions: This study indicates for the first time that both cumulative lifetime and recent ETS exposures increase the risk of adult-onset asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Inhalation Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Workplace


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution