Table 9.2

Chamber studies of exposure to secondhand smoke and acute respiratory symptoms

StudyPopulationExposureSymptomsComments
Shephard et al. 1979 14 patients with mild to moderate asthma
Aged 19–65 years


No controls without asthma
Average CO* = 24 ppm, 2 hours Persons with asthma (%) Normal controls (%) Regular asthma medications were not withheld before the test in 13 out of 14 patients; 1 or more may have been smokers; normal controls were from another study
RestExercise
Wheeze36100
Chest tightness4350
Cough364558
Dyspnea211517
Dahms et al. 1981 10 persons with asthma (5 smoke-sensitive)
Aged 18–26 years

10 healthy controls
Aged 24–53 years
Estimated CO = 15–20 ppm (based on carboxy-hemoglobin levels), 1 hourAll had similar degrees of eye and nasal irritationExposure levels were not measured directly; no individual data were reported
Knight and Breslin 1985 6 patients with mild to moderate asthmaCO level was not determined, 1 hourWheeze was reported by 33% of participants; increase in chest tightness was reported by 50% of participantsParticipants and methods were not well described
Wiedemann et al. 1986 9 asymptomatic persons with asthma
Aged 19–30 years
CO = 40–50 ppm, 1 hourCough was reported by 33% of participantsNone
Stankus et al. 1988 21 smoke- sensitive persons with asthma
Aged 21–50 years
Average CO = 8.7 ppm, 2 hours; if no change occurred in lung function, exposure was then increased to average CO = 13.3 ppm, 2 hoursCough, chest tightness, and dyspnea were reported by 7 participants who had a >20% decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 secondNo information was provided on symptoms among those who did not have a decline in lung function
Bascom et al. 1991 21 healthy nonsmokers45 ppm CO for 15 minutesCough and chest tightness were greater among sensitive participants11 not sensitive and 10 sensitive participants by questionnaire
Magnussen et al. 1992 18 persons with mild to moderate asthma
Aged 21–51 years
Average CO = 20.5 ppm, 1 hourCough and chest tightness symptom scores were not significantly different for the secondhand smoke exposure compared with the sham exposureNone
Danuser et al. 1993 10 persons with hyperreactive airways (5 asthma, 3 suggestive of asthma)
Aged 24–51 years

10 healthy controls
Aged 24–52 years
Average CO = 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 ppm; 2 minutes at each levelOver the entire exposure, 7 hyperreactive persons and 6 healthy controls reported cough, chest tightness, or dyspneaSmall likelihood of “suggestibility” because of the mode of secondhand smoke delivery; symptom severity was mild for both groups, even at the highest level of exposure; there was a dose-response relationship between symptom scores and CO levels
Bascom et al. 1996 29 healthy nonsmokers
Aged 22–31 years
Average CO = 0, 1, 5, and 15 ppm; 2 hours at each levelCough and chest tightness scores increased with increasing CO levelsNone
Nowak et al. 1997a 10 persons with mild asthma
Aged 22–29 years
Average CO = 22.4 ppm, 3 hoursThroat and chest symptom scores (breathing difficulty, chest tightness, dyspnea, and chest pain) significantly increased with exposureUnable to determine an effect on chest symptoms alone because throat and chest symptoms were combined
*

CO = Carbon monoxide.

ppm = Parts per million.

From: 9, Respiratory Effects in Adults from Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

Cover of The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke
The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General.
Office on Smoking and Health (US).

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