Objective: To determine whether the flight attendants who were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke in the aircraft cabin have abnormal pulmonary function.
Methods: We administered questionnaires and performed pulmonary function testing in 61 never-smoking female flight attendants who worked in active air crews before the smoking ban on commercial aircraft (preban).
Results: Although the preban flight attendants had normal FVC, FEV1, and FEV1/FVC ratio, they had significantly decreased flow at mid- and low-lung volumes, curvilinear flow-volume curves, and evidence of air trapping. Furthermore, the flight attendants had significantly decreased diffusing capacity (77.5% +/- 11.2% predicted normal) with 51% having a diffusing capacity below their 95% normal prediction limit.
Conclusions: This cohort of healthy never-smoking flight attendants who were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke in the aircraft cabin showed pulmonary function abnormalities suggestive of airway obstruction and impaired diffusion.