Consequences of smoke inhalation in the ‘Epidemiology of Allergic Diseases in Poland’ project (ECAP)

Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Ann Agric Environ Med 2011;18(2):420–428
This paper presents a risk assessment of individuals with respiratory allergies who are exposed to active and passive tobacco smoke (environmental tobacco smoke or ETS). Smoking tobacco and ETS is a serious environmental hazard known to be harmful to human health. This analysis is based on the results of the Epidemiology of Allergic Diseases in Poland (ECAP) study, which was conducted from 2006-2008 on a sample of approximately 22,500 respondents in 9 areas of Poland, both urban and rural. Data collection was based on individual interviews and a questionnaire employing Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing technology (CAPI). 46.8% of respondents declared themselves as smokers, defined as those who smoke and have done so for at least one year. In this group, 41.5% of respondents were female and 54.3% were male. While differences between various areas of Poland were demonstrated, they did not necessarily correlate with urbanization. Rural Zamość reported 41.4% of smokers while metropolitan Poznań had 41.9% of smokers. These statistics can be contrasted against other urban areas such as Katowice and Gdansk, which had 51.8% and 52.3% of smokers, respectively (n = 9376). 29.6% of rural women reported smoking, while this percentage was higher among urban women, ranging from 36.3% in Poznań to 49.5% in Gdańsk. However, the highest percentage of smokers was among males in Zamość at 56.1%. This percentage was higher than the overall average in this study. The largest percentages of active smoking occurred among laborers, craftsmen, miners, drivers, farmers and fishermen, the self-employed and gardeners. This quantitative assessment of the prevalence of smoking underlines the importance of the consequences of this habit as they relate to asthma and respiratory allergies. The findings demonstrate smoking as a serious social problem associated with allergic diseases, and a habit that diff ers between place of residence and work environment.