Objectives: Although active smoking has been reported to be associated with poor self-rated health (SRH), its association with secondhand smoke (SHS) is not well understood. Study design: A cross-sectional study was conducted to examine the association of active smoking and SHS exposure with SRH. Methods: A total of 2558 workers (1899 men and 689 women), aged 16-83 (mean 45) years, in 296 small and medium-sized enterprises were surveyed by means of a self-administered questionnaire. Smoking status and exposure levels to SHS (no, occasional or regular) among lifetime non-smokers were assessed separately at work and at home. SRH was assessed with the question: How would you describe your health during the past 1-year period (very poor, poor, good, very good)? SRH was dichotomized into suboptimal (poor, very poor) and optimal (good, very good). Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for reporting suboptimal vs optimal SRH according to smoking status and smoke exposure were calculated. Results: Current heavy smokers (20+ cigarettes/day) had a significantly increased suboptimal SRH than lifetime non-smokers after adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle, physical and occupational factors (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.06-1.69). Similarly, lifetime non-smokers occasionally exposed to SHS at work alone had worse SRH than their unexposed counterparts (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.02-2.11). In contrast, lifetime non-smokers exposed at home alone had no significant increase in suboptimal SRH. Conclusions: The present study indicates an increase in suboptimal SRH among current heavy smokers, and suggests that SHS exposure at work is a possible risk factor for non-smokers. Whether or not the association is causal, control of smoking at work may protect workers from developing future health conditions.
A. Nakata, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA