National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"9 Introduction ." National Research Council. 1986. Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Measuring Exposures and Assessing Health Effects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/943.
Page 163
Suggested Citation:"9 Introduction ." National Research Council. 1986. Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Measuring Exposures and Assessing Health Effects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/943.
Page 164
Suggested Citation:"9 Introduction ." National Research Council. 1986. Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Measuring Exposures and Assessing Health Effects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/943.
Page 165

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

INTRODUCTION 163 9 Introduction Epidemiologic and experimental studies seek to determine if a relationship exists between a particular exposure and particular health effects. When the exposure is via the air, as is the case with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure to nonsmokers, the organs that are directly exposed include the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Clinical, epidemiologic, and animal studies have shown, generally speaking, that air pollutants can have major health effects on the respiratory system (National Research Council, 1985). Experimental research using animals (Chapter 3) and research with biological markers in humans (Chapter 8) indicate that various constituents of the smoke are absorbed into the blood and, therefore, are transported to organs and tissues of the body. Consequently, the range of possible health effects of exposure to ETS may be very broad and vary enormously in their effect on the individual. Effects may be reversible or irreversible, discomforting, or life-threatening. In the following chapters, several possible health effects that have received substantial attention are reviewed. Many of the health effects associated with active smoking have been evaluated in studies of nonsmokers exposed to ETS. These include: acute, noxious sensory irritation; nonmalignant respiratory symptoms and disease; decrease in pulmonary function; lung and other cancers; cardiovascular disease; relative growth, ear infections in children; and low birthweight of children of nonsmoking women. Nonsmokers commonly complain of the perception of tobacco smoke and its irritating, noxious, or annoying qualities. However, in most such spontaneous instances, these complaints are voiced

INTRODUCTION 164 because the subjects can see another person actively smoking in their vicinity. Chapter 10 reviews experimental studies that evaluate these acute comfort aspects under controlled conditions. Chapters 11 and 12 assess and evaluate possible nonneoplastic and neoplastic pulmonary effects of exposure to ETS by nonsmokers. Over the past 15 years, a number of studies in children and in adults have assessed various possible acute and chronic pulmonary effects subsequent to long-term exposure to ETS. Individuals who have chronic lung diseases, such as patients with asthma, alpha-l-antitrypsin deficiency, or cystic fibrosis, are potentially hypersensitive to the effects of ETS exposures. Chapter 13 reviews and evaluates reports of cancers other than lung that may be associated with exposure to ETS in nonsmokers. Chapter 14 discusses the possible association of exposure to ETS with chronic and acute cardiovascular responses and cardiovascular diseases in nonsmokers. Individuals with chronic disease that compromise the cardiovascular system, such as patients with a history of angina pectoris, are at a high risk for developing abnormal cardiovascular responses following exposure. Chapter 15 considers evidence that a number of other health effects are linked to ETS exposure in children of smokers, including lower relative growth, frequency of ear infections, and low birthweight (with nonsmoking pregnant mothers). The studies reviewed here are epidemiologic and experimental. Epidemiologic studies include case-control studies, in which subjects are selected according to whether or not they have the health outcome being studied, and cohort (or prospective) studies, in which subjects are classified according to whether or not they have been exposed to ETS. Cross-sectional studies are those in which an assessment is made of a population at one point in time. Longitudinal studies follow a group of persons over time. In experimental studies, subjects are exposed to ETS under controlled conditions often using chamber studies. Most studies of ETS have been cross-sectional rather than longitudinal. To be informative, a study must evaluate a sufficient number of people to provide a precise estimate of the effect; obtain valid information regarding the history of exposure and health status of the individuals; and, of course, the statistical analyses must be appropriate to the study design. The appropriate design and use of these epidemiologic methods for the study of air pollution and possible health effects

INTRODUCTION 165 are discussed in general terms in the monograph “Epidemiology and Air Pollution” (National Research Council, 1985). REFERENCE National Research Council, Committee on the Epidemiology of Air Pollutants. Epidemiology and Air Pollution. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1985. 224 pp.

Next: 10 Sensory Reactions to and Irritation Effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke »
Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Measuring Exposures and Assessing Health Effects Get This Book
Buy Paperback | $100.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

This comprehensive book examines the recent research investigating the characteristics and composition of different types of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and discusses possible health effects of ETS. The volume presents an overview of methods used to determine exposures to environmental smoke and reviews both chronic and acute health effects. Many recommendations are made for areas of further research, including the differences between smokers and nonsmokers in absorbing, metabolizing, and excreting the components of ETS, and the possible effects of ETS exposure during childhood and fetal life.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!