WATER PIPE SMOKING AS HARMFUL AS CIGARETTE SMOKING
Two new studies confirm the serious health effects caused by water pipe smoking (WPS), including reduced lung function and other cardiorespiratory conditions. In one study, researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo found that, compared with people who do not smoke, WPS was associated with a significant reduction in lung function, equivalent to cigarette smoking. In a second study, Israeli researchers found that during a single 30-minute smoking session, WPS was associated with an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as decreased lung function. Researchers conclude that WPS is as harmful as cigarette smoking and that public interventions are needed in order to raise awareness about the harmful effects of WPS. The articles are published in the April issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: Chest 2011;139(4):764-774; and Chest 2011;139(4):775-781.
COPD IS NOT JUST A SMOKER'S DISEASE
Although chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is most often caused by smoking, new research confirms that a substantial proportion of individuals with COPD have never smoked. As part of the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study, researchers from several international medical institutions, including those in Austria, Spain, England, and South Africa, analyzed data from 4,291 never-smokers aged 40 years or older from 14 countries. Of the never-smokers, 6.6 percent met criteria for mild (GOLD Stage I) COPD, and 5.6 percent met criteria for moderate to very severe (GOLD Stage II+) COPD. Although never-smokers were less likely to have COPD and had less severe COPD than ever-smokers, never-smokers comprised 23.3 percent of those classified with GOLD Stage II+ COPD. Predictors of COPD in never-smokers include age, education, occupational exposure, childhood respiratory diseases, and alterations in BMI. Researchers conclude that increased awareness about other COPD factors is needed and that symptomatic never-smokers should be included in COPD screening efforts. This article is published in the April issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: Chest 2011;139(4):752-763.