NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and risk factors for heart disease among never smokers in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Steenland-K; Sieber-K; Etzel-RA; Pechacek-T; Maurer-K
Am J Epidemiol 1998 May; 147(10):932-939
The relative risk of coronary artery disease among never smokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) versus never smokers not exposed to ETS is approximately 1.2 based on more than a dozen epidemiologic studies. Most of these studies have controlled for the major heart disease risk factors, but residual or uncontrolled confounding remains a possible explanation for the epidemiologic findings. The authors studied 3,338 never-smoking adults aged 17 years or older, who are representative of all US never smokers, in the 1988-1991 Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) to determine whether selected risk factors for heart disease differ between ETS-exposed and -nonexposed persons. Both self-reported ETS exposure (at home and at work) and serum cotinine levels were available, the latter reflecting recent ETS exposure. After adjustments were made for age, sex, race, and education among adults aged 17 years or older, no significant differences were found between the ETS exposed and the nonexposed for any of 13 cardiovascular risk factors with the exception of dietary carotene, which was lower among the exposed. On the other hand, significant positive linear trends were found between serum cotinine and two risk factors (body mass index and alcohol consumption), and significant inverse trends were found with dietary carotene. There were also few differences between exposed and nonexposed never smokers among adults aged 40 years or older, who are most at risk of heart disease. In this group, however, there was an inverse linear trend between serum cotinine and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (p < 0.001). This finding could result from ETS exposure rather than be an indication of confounding; a similar inverse trend was found for children, confirming other results in the literature. Overall, these data suggest little potential for confounding by the heart disease risk factors studied here when ETS exposure is determined by self-report.
Occupational-exposure; Environmental-exposure; Tobacco-smoke; Risk-factors; Heart; Occupational-diseases; Epidemiology; Age-factors; Racial-factors; Sex-factors; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Demographic-characteristics; Sociological-factors; Author Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; cotinine; environmental pollution; tobacco smoke; heart diseases; lipoproteins; HDL cholesterol; risk factors
Dr. Kyle Steenland, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Source Name
American Journal of Epidemiology
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division