Background: Studies show that the incidence of COPD has remained high in southwest China despite the 1976 National Stove Improvement Program for indoor air quality. Chinese water-pipe tobacco smoking (commonly referred to as water-pipe smoking), which is thought to be less harmful under the assumption that no charcoal is used and water filters tobacco smoke, is popular in China. We investigated whether Chinese water-pipe use and exposure are associated with the risk of COPD.
Methods: This multicenter, cross-sectional study enrolled 1,238 individuals from 10 towns in the Fuyuan area, Yunnan Province, China. A matched design was used to estimate the impact of active and passive exposure to Chinese water-pipe smoking on COPD risk; multivariate analyses adjusted for other risk factors. We also collected the water from Chinese water pipes to assess the mutagenicity of its major components and simulated Chinese water-pipe smoke exposure fine particulate 2.5 (PM2.5) by using the High Volume Air Sampler and individuals' sera to search for the potential protein biomarkers of COPD.
Results: The increased risk of COPD was profound for Chinese water-pipe smokers (adjusted OR, 10.61; 95% CI, 6.89-16.34), Chinese water-pipe passive smokers (adjusted OR, 5.50; 95% CI, 3.61-8.38), cigarette smokers (adjusted OR, 3.18; 95% CI, 2.06-4.91), and cigarette passive smokers (adjusted OR, 2.52; 95% CI, 1.62-3.91) compared with never-smoking control subjects. Chinese water-pipe use aggravates lungs with more PM2.5 compared with cigarettes. ChemR23 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 may be potential protein biomarkers of COPD.
Conclusions: Chinese water-pipe smoking significantly increases the risk of COPD, including the risk to women who are exposed to the water-pipe smoke.
Trial registry: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry; No.: ChiCTR-CCH-12002235; URL: www.chictr.org/cn/