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Arch Bronconeumol. 2000 Apr;36(4):186-90.

[Respiratory disease in young people and smoking].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Centro de Salud San Agustín, La Laguna, Tenerife.



To assess the prevalence of respiratory disease among adolescents and young adults and to determine whether disease is more common among smokers.


Four hundred twenty subjects (45.3% female and 54.7% male) between 14 and 21 years of age were studied. The subjects were enrolled in public and private schools in Tenerife (Spain). Each subject filled in an epidemiological questionnaire as recommended by the American Thoracic Society (ATS).


We found that 26.5% were habitual smokers, 11.0% were occasional smokers, 3.6% were ex-smokers and 45.6% were passive smokers. Only 13.4% reported not being exposed to tobacco smoke. Respiratory diseases included recurrent upper respiratory tract infections (14.1%), lower respiratory tract infections (16%), allergy (32.5%) and asthma (10.5%), bronchospasm with exercise (25.8%) and chronic coughing (8.6%). The incidences of the following diseases were higher in young smokers: upper respiratory tract infections (p = 0.001), lower respiratory tract infections (p = 0.004), bronchospasm with exercise (p = 0.02) and chronic cough (p = 0.0001). Young smokers also lost more school days per year due to respiratory disease (p = 0.01). The rate of lower respiratory tract infections per year was higher among young smokers than among those who were unexposed (p = 0.004).


Smoking, which leads to a higher incidence of respiratory disease, has a negative impact on adolescents.

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