Passive smoking adversely affects lung function of females

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- (Credit: Preeti Singh / CSE)passive smoking causes decreased lung function in women, especially those suffering from asthma. Surprisingly, men's lung function is not affected due to such exposure. These startling facts were recently revealed during a study conducted by researchers from San Francisco-based University of California. Researchers studied more than 10,000 adults, 440 of whom had asthma. They evaluated the relationship between the subjects' lung function and the presence of cotinine, a substance that marks exposure to passive smoking.

The researchers found that most of the subjects showed evidence of exposure to passive smoking. In non-smoking males, passive smoking was found not to affect lung function. However, in non-smoking females, high levels of cotinine were associated with adverse lung function. "Among females with and without asthma, we found that the greater their exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, the lower their lung function," said Mark Eisner, assistant professor of medicine at the university.

Men are usually exposed to passive smoking at work, while women suffer from it at home. According to Eisner, this factor might be the reason behind women's susceptibility, as men can easily avoid exposure to passive smoking at work, but women can't do so at home. Another reason behind women's vulnerability might be a biological difference -- women have much smaller airways than men, which causes them to be more affected by smoke.

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