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Intern Med. 2010;49(15):1489-99. Epub 2010 Aug 2.

Relationship between habit of cigarette smoking and airflow limitation in healthy Japanese individuals: the Takahata study.

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Department of Cardiology, Pulmonology, and Nephrology, Yamagata University School of Medicine.



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic airflow limitation. The prevalence of airflow limitation in Japan is 10.9% (16.4% of males and 5.0% of females). Cigarette smoking is well known as a major cause of COPD. However, few epidemiological studies have evaluated the effects of cigarette smoking on pulmonary function in healthy subjects.


Subjects aged 40 years or older (n=2,917), who had participated in a community-based annual health check in Takahata, Japan, from 2004 through 2005, were enrolled in the study. The smoking histories of these subjects were investigated using a self-reported questionnaire. Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)), and forced expiratory flow at 25-75% of FVC (FEF(25-75)) were measured by standard procedures using spirometric machines.


There were 554 current smokers (18.6%) and 403 former smokers (13.8%). The prevalence of airflow limitation defined by FEV(1)/FVC <0.7 in this population was 10.6%, and prevalence of airflow limitation defined by 5th percentile lower limit of normal was 6.4%. In smokers, percent predicted values of measured spirometric parameters (%FVC, %FEV(1) and %FEF(25-75)) decreased significantly with age, except for male %FVC. Also, percent predicted values of measured spirometric parameters decreased significantly with increasing pack-years, except for female %FEF(25-75).


Cigarette smoking increased the prevalence and severity of airflow limitation. It is concluded that cigarette smoking increases the risk of airflow limitation in a healthy Japanese population.

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