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P53 Combined exposure to vapors, gases, dusts, fumes and tobacco smoke increases the risk of asthma symptoms especially in adult-diagnosed asthma
  1. H Hisinger-Mölkänen1,
  2. P Piirila1,2,
  3. A Sovijarvi1,2,
  4. L Tuomisto3,
  5. H Andersen4,
  6. A Lindqvist5,
  7. H Backman6,
  8. A Langhammer7,8,
  9. E Rönmark6,
  10. B Lundback9,
  11. P Ilmarinen3,10,
  12. H Kankaanranta3,9,10,
  13. P Pallasaho11
  1. 1University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2Unit of Clinical Physiology, HUS Medical Imaging Center, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
  3. 3Department of Respiratory Medicine, Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland
  4. 4Karolinska University Hospital, Thoracic Oncology Unit, Tema Cancer, Stockholm, Sweden
  5. 5Clinical Research Unit of Pulmonary Diseases, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
  6. 6Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine/the OLIN Unit, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  7. 7HUNT Research Centre, Department of Public Health and Nursing, NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Levanger, Norway
  8. 8Levanger Hospital, Nord-Trøndelag Hospital Trust, Levanger, Norway
  9. 9Krefting Research Centre, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  10. 10Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
  11. 11Espoo City Health Services, Espoo, Finland


Background Smoking and occupational airborne exposures are known to increase asthma symptoms, but less is known about their influence by the age of asthma diagnosis.

Objective To evaluate the effect of exposures to VGDF (vapors, gases, dusts and fumes), tobacco smoke and their combination for asthma symptoms comparing subjects with asthma diagnosed in childhood and adulthood.

Methods A random sample of 16 000 adults aged 20–69 years were invited to a postal survey on obstructive pulmonary diseases in Finland in 2016. Those reporting physician-diagnosed asthma and age at diagnosis were included in the analysis and their reported VGDF-exposure and smoking habits were analyzed. Age 18 years was chosen to delineate child- and adult-diagnosed asthma.

Results 8199 (51.5%) responded. Of the responders, 831 reported physician-diagnosed asthma. 41% of asthmatics reported child-diagnosed and 59% adult-diagnosed asthma. Current smoking was reported by 25.2% and 20.2% and VGDF exposure by 31.3% and 44.7% in child -diagnosed and adult-diagnosed asthma, respectively. Combined VGDF-exposure and current smoking was reported by 9.7% and 10.6%, respectively.

Compared to the unexposed, those with asthma diagnosed in childhood and with combined current smoking and VGDF exposure, had higher prevalence of wheeze (69.7% vs 39.5%, p=0.009), sputum production (39.4% vs 11.4%, p=0.001) and morning dyspnea (42.4% vs 21.9%, p=0.002). Corresponding pattern was seen in those with asthma diagnosed in adulthood; for wheeze (78.8% vs 53.6%, p=0.007), sputum production (40.4% vs 25.0%, p=0.014) and morning dyspnea (65.4% vs 42.0%, p=0.008). Child-diagnosed asthmatics both without exposure history (46.5% vs 69.6%, p=0.001) and with combined exposure to smoking and VGDF (66.7% vs 94.2%, p=0.003) reported less often ≥3 symptoms compared to adult-diagnosed asthmatics, even though they reported less frequently use of asthma medication (60.7% vs 82.0%, p>0.001). Smoking asthmatics with adult-diagnosis and exposure to VGDF had the highest prevalence estimates of having multiple symptoms (94.2%) in our study.

Conclusion Although asthmatics diagnosed in child- and adulthood reported symptoms related to exposure to smoking and VGDF, symptoms were reported more often by those with adult diagnosis. The results indicate the importance of targeted asthma treatment and follow-up by patient’s exposure history and asthma diagnosis age.

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