Sex differences in lung vulnerability to tobacco smoking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Studies have indicated that females are more vulnerable to the deleterious effect of tobacco smoking than males. The current study aimed to investigate the associations between tobacco smoking and reported respiratory symptoms, self-rated health, and lung function by sex. In 1995-1997 65,225 subjects aged greater than or equal to 20 yrs (71% of invited) attended for screening within the Nord-Trondelag Health Study. Among these, 10,941 subjects selected randomly or because they reported having asthma or asthma-related symptoms, participated in the Bronchial Obstruction in Nord-Trondelag study consisting of spirometry and a personal interview. Tobacco smoking was associated with increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms, reduced lung function, and lower score on global self-rated health (SRH). Adjusted for smoking burden and lung function, females had a higher risk for reporting respiratory symptoms and lower SRH compared with males. Further, smoking burden was associated with a larger relative reduction in expiratory lung function in females than in males. Females reported more symptoms and lower self-rated health compared with males with similar smoking burden. Even if smoking in females was associated with a larger reduction in per cent predicted lung function compared with males, this does not fully explain the higher symptom prevalence in females.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


  • lung function, self-rated health, sex, tobacco, smoking, respiratory symptoms
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1023
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch