The association of pipe and cigar use with cotinine levels, lung function, and airflow obstruction: a cross-sectional study.
Background: Cigarette smoking is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but studies on the contribution of other smoking techniques are sparse. Objective: To determine whether pipe and cigar smoking was associated with elevated cotinine levels, decrements in lung function, and increased odds of airflow obstruction. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Population-based sample from 6 U.S. communities. Participants: Men and women aged 48 to 90 years without clinical cardiovascular disease at enrollment who were part of MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis). Measurements: The MESA Lung Study measured spirometry according to American Thoracic Society guidelines and urine cotinine levels by immunoassay on a subsample of MESA. Pipe-years and cigar-years were calculated as years from self-reported age of starting to age of quitting (or to current age in current users) multiplied by pipe-bowls or cigars per day. Results: Of 3528 participants, 9% reported pipe smoking (median, 15 pipe-years), 11% reported cigar smoking (median, 6 cigar-years), and 52% reported cigarette smoking (median, 18 pack-years). Self-reported current pipe and cigar smokers had elevated urine cotinine levels compared with never-smokers. Pipe-years were associated with decrements in FEV(1), and cigar-years were associated with decrements in the FEV(1)-FVC ratio. Participants who smoked pipes or cigars had increased odds of airflow obstruction whether they had also smoked cigarettes (odds ratio, 3.43 [95% CI, 1.75 to 6.71]; P < 0.001) or not (odds ratio, 2.31 [CI, 1.04 to 5.11]; P = 0.039) compared with participants with no smoking history. Limitation: Cross-sectional design. Conclusion: Pipe and cigar smoking increased urine cotinine levels and was associated with decreased lung function and increased odds of airflow obstruction, even in participants who had never smoked cigarettes.