COPD and its association with smoking in the Mainland China: a cross-sectional analysis of 0.5 million men and women from ten diverse areas
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PURPOSE: In adult Chinese men, smoking prevalence is high, but little is known about its association with chronic respiratory disease, which is still poorly diagnosed and managed. METHODS: A nationwide study recruited 0.5 million men and women aged 30-79 years during 2004-2008 from ten geographically diverse areas across the Mainland China. Information was collected from each participant regarding smoking and self-reported physician diagnosis of chronic bronchitis/emphysema (CB/E), along with measurement of lung function indices. Logistic regression was used to yield sex-specific odds ratios (ORs) relating smoking to airflow obstruction (AFO), defined as forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) <0.7 and CB/E, adjusting for age, areas, education, and income. RESULTS: Overall 74% of men were ever regular smokers; among them, 7.2% had AFO compared with 5.4% in never-smokers, yielding an OR of 1.42 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.34-1.50). The risk was strongly associated with amount smoked and starting to smoke at a younger age. Among ex-smokers, the OR was more extreme for those who had quit due to illness (OR: 1.86, 95% CI: 1.77-1.96) than those who had quit by choice (OR:1.08, 95% CI: 1.01-1.16). CB/E prevalence was also significantly elevated in ex-smokers who had quit because of ill health (OR:2.79, 95% CI: 2.64-2.95), but not in regular smokers (OR:1.04, 95% CI: 0.96-1.11). Female smokers was rare (3%), but carried an excess risk for AFO (OR:1.53, 95% CI: 1.43-1.65) and, to a lesser extent, for CB/E (OR:1.28, 95% CI: 1.15-1.42). CONCLUSION: In Mainland China, adult smokers, particularly ex-smokers who had quit because of illness, had significantly higher prevalence of chronic respiratory disease. AFO appeared to be more strongly associated with smoking than self-reported chronic respiratory disease.
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