Asthma Symptoms, Risks, and Comorbidities According to Smoking Status

Heart health concept image with cigarettes
Heart health concept image with cigarettes
Smokers and nonsmokers had similar symptoms and risk factors present for asthma, but differed in comorbidities.

This article is part of Pulmonology Advisor‘s coverage of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, taking place in Orlando, Florida. Our staff will report on medical research related to asthma and other respiratory conditions, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from AAAAI/WAO 2018.

ORLANDO — Smokers and former smokers with asthma had similar symptoms and risk factors, but smokers had lower rates of allergic dermatitis and hypertension than former smokers, according to data presented at the 2018 Joint Congress of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology/World Allergy Organization, held March 2-5, in Orlando, Florida.

In a cross-sectional retrospective survey of patients in an asthma outpatient clinic, researchers evaluated the differences between smokers with asthma, nonsmokers with asthma, and former smokers with asthma in terms of symptoms, risk factors, and comorbidities. Of the 500 patients surveyed, 353 were classified as nonsmokers, 88 as former smokers, and 59 as smokers.

All patients were diagnosed by pulmonary medicine physicians according to Global Initiative for Asthma 2015 guidelines. Patients were ≥17 years old, were being treated for asthma without a flare up in the previous month, and were followed for ≥1 year. The mean Asthma Control Test scores in smokers, former smokers, and nonsmokers were 17.75±6.47, 21.26±4.71, and 18.85±5.86, respectively.

Cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and dyspnea symptoms were not significantly different among the groups, with percentages ranging from 60.6% to 72.7%.

In terms of comorbidities, however, differences were seen in rates of hypertension and atopic dermatitis: 3.4% of smokers had hypertension compared with 10.2% of former smokers and 13.9% of nonsmokers and 3.4% of smokers had atopic dermatitis compared with 17.0% of former smokers and 12.7% of nonsmokers. No major group differences were seen for diabetes, allergic conjunctivitis, or rhinitis/sinusitis. In addition, smokers and former smokers had higher rates of gastroesophageal reflux (57.6% and 59.1%, respectively) compared with 41.6% of nonsmokers (P <.003).

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No group difference was seen in risk factors, including inhalant allergy, nonsteroid anti-inflammatory hypersensitivity, pet sensitivity, heating methods, and occupational factors. However, the percentage of people with allergic dermatitis and hypertension was lower in smokers (3.4% and 3.4%, respectively) compared with former smokers and nonsmokers (17% and 10.2% and 12.7% and 13.9%, respectively; P <.02, P <.03).

The researchers concluded that while smokers and former smokers with asthma had similar symptoms and risk factors, smokers with asthma had lower rates of hypertension and allergic dermatitis.

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Gemicioglu B, Musellim B, Degirmenci B, et al. Are smoker asthmatics different than non-smokers in terms of symptoms, risk factors and comorbidities? Presented at: 2018 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology/World Allergy Organization Joint Congress; March 2-5, 2018; Orlando, FL. Poster 741.