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July 9, 1982

Association Between Cigarette Smoking and Acute Respiratory Tract Illness in Young Adults

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory for the Analysis of Medical Practice (Dr Komaroff and Ms Ben), Division of General Medicine (Drs Aronson and Komaroff) and Division of Pulmonary Medicine (Dr Weiss), Joint Departments of Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital; the Charles A. Dana Research Institute and the Harvard-Thorndike Laboratory (Drs Aronson and Weiss); and the Center for the Analysis of Health Practices, Harvard School of Public Health (Dr Komaroff), Boston.

JAMA. 1982;248(2):181-183. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330020025023

The association of cigarette smoking with the occurrence and severity of an acute respiratory tract illness (ARTI) was studied. Clinical data were obtained prospectively on 867 men and women with an ARTI and on a control group of 289 women. Three hundred seven (57%) of the 534 women in the ARTI group were smokers, compared with 97 (34%) of the 289 women in the control group, a highly significant difference. Of the 867 men and women with ARTIs, 506 were smokers. Smokers had a statistically significant greater likelihood of having a lower respiratory tract illness (57% v 45%), a longer duration of cough (8.9 v 6.8 days), and a greater frequency of abnormal auscultatory findings (31% v 20%) than did the 361 nonsmokers. Cigarette smoking may thus contribute to the substantial morbidity and lost productivity resulting from ARTI.

(JAMA 1982;248:181-183)