Background: The effects of individual lifestyle factors on the mortality risk after influenza infection have not been explored.
Objectives: In this study, we assessed the modifying effects of cigarette smoking on mortality risks associated with influenza in a cohort of Hong Kong elders with a follow-up period of 1998-2009.
Methods: We used the Cox proportional hazards model with time-dependent covariates of weekly proportions of specimens positive for influenza (termed as influenza virus activity), to calculate the hazard ratio of mortality associated with a 10% increase in influenza virus activity for never, ex- and current smokers. Other individual lifestyle and socioeconomic factors as well as seasonal confounders were also added into the models.
Results: The overall hazard ratio associated with influenza was 1·028 (95% confidence interval, 1·006, 1·051) for all natural cause mortality and 1·035 (1·003, 1·068) for cardiovascular and respiratory mortality. We found that influenza-associated hazard ratio was greater in current and ex-smokers than in never smokers for mortality of all natural causes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that smoking might increase influenza-associated mortality risks among elders.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.