Factors affecting the development of airflow limitation among South Korean smokers
Youngmee Kim 1
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Red Cross College of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea
Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, International Healthcare Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Won-Kyung Cho   

Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, International Healthcare Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul 05505, Korea
Publish date: 2019-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2019;17(March):16
Considering that only some and not all smokers develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there may be other factors responsible for the development of COPD among smokers. Previous researchers have reported that ethnicity could be one of factors associated with the development of COPD. This study aimed to examine the factors associated with the development of airflow limitation, suggestive of having COPD, among Korean smokers using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted over the past 3 years.

A total of 2569 current and former smokers ≥40 years of age were included. Most studies exploring risk factors for COPD have compared smokers and non-smokers with smoking as only one of the independent variables. In this study, we took a different approach, studying only smokers and comparing those with or without airflow limitation.

The prevalence of airflow limitation among the study participants was 19.2% and 22.1% in current and former smokers, respectively. There was no significant correlation between the severity of airflow limitation and total lifetime smoking amount. Among the many variables examined, only age, male gender and total lifetime smoking amount (pack-years) were significant factors associated with the development of cigarette smoke-induced airflow limitation.

Older Korean men who are heavy smokers may be at a higher risk of developing COPD. Our findings support the importance of smoking cessation as the best way to prevent the development of COPD.

We are grateful to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention for allowing us to use the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) data.
Authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
There was no source of funding for this research.
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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