Author Affiliations: Department of Community Medicine and Behavioural Sciences Unit, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
Section Editor: Annette Flanagin, RN, MA,
Managing Senior Editor.
Context Few epidemiological studies have examined the relationship between chronic
respiratory symptoms and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) at
work in adults, and none have shown clear dose-response relationships.
Objective To examine the respiratory effects of ETS exposure at home and at work
among never-smoking adults.
Design, Setting, and Participants Cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaire survey conducted in
December 1995 and January 1996 among 4468 male and 728 female police officers
in Hong Kong who were never-smokers.
Main Outcome Measures Respiratory symptoms and physician consultation in the previous 14 days
for such symptoms by presence and amount of ETS exposure at work.
Results Eighty percent of both men and women reported ETS exposure at work.
Significant odds ratios (ORs) for respiratory symptoms were found among men
with ETS exposure at work (for any respiratory symptoms, difference in absolute
rate, 20.4%; OR, 2.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.97-2.75; attributable
risk, 57%) and physician consultation (difference in absolute rate, 4.5%;
OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.05-1.61; attributable risk, 23%). Trends were similar
among women for any respiratory symptoms (difference in absolute rate, 15.4%;
OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.04-2.56; attributable risk, 39%) and for physician consultation
(difference in absolute rates, 2.8%; OR, 1.45; 95% CI, 0.87-2.41; attributable
risk, 31%). Positive dose-response relationships with number of coworkers
smoking nearby and amount of ETS exposure in the work place were found.
Conclusions This study provides further evidence of the serious health hazards associated
with ETS exposure at work. The findings support a ban on smoking in the workplace
to protect all workers in both developed and developing countries.
Lam TH, Ho LM, Hedley AJ, Adab P, Fielding R, McGhee SM, Aharonson-Daniel L. Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure Among Police Officers in Hong Kong. JAMA. 2000;284(6):756-763. doi:10.1001/jama.284.6.756