Are women more sensitive to smoking than men? Findings from the Renfrew and Paisley study

Marang-van de Mheen, M., Davey Smith, G., Hart, C. and Hole, D. (2001) Are women more sensitive to smoking than men? Findings from the Renfrew and Paisley study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(4), pp. 787-792. (doi: 10.1093/ije/30.4.787)

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Abstract

Background Prescott et al. found that the relative risks associated with smoking for respiratory and vascular deaths were higher for women who inhale than for inhaling men, and found no gender differences in relative risks of smoking-related cancers. The purpose of the present study was to assess whether these findings are reproducible, using data from the Renfrew and Paisley study. Methods Age-standardized mortality rate differences and age-adjusted mortality rate ratios (using Cox's proportional hazard model) were calculated for male and female smokers by amount smoked compared with never smokers. These analyses were repeated after excluding non-inhalers. Results The all-cause mortality rate ratio was higher for men than for women in all categories of amount smoked, although this difference was only statistically significant in the light smokers (1.83 [95 % CI: 1.61-2.07] for men and 1.41 [95 % CI: 1.28-1.56] for women, P=0.001). The cause-specific mortality rate ratios tended to be higher for men than for women, and this difference was most substantial for neoplasms (2.57 [95% CI: 2.01-3.29] for male light smokers and 1.35 [95% CI: 1.14-1.61] for female light smokers, P<0.001) and, in particular, for lung cancer (11.10 [95% CI: 5.89-20.92] for male light smokers and 4.73 [95% CI: 2.99-7.50] for female light smokers, P=0.03). Furthermore, looking at the rate differences the effects of smoking were uniformly greater in men than in women. These results were virtually unchanged after excluding non-inhalers. Conclusion We found similar results to Prescott et al. when all smokers were considered, but could not reproduce their findings when non-inhalers were excluded. Given the fact that we showed greater rate differences in men than in women, we think that it is too early to conclude that women may be more sensitive than men to some of the deleterious effects of smoking.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hart, Dr Carole and Davey Smith, Professor George and Hole, Prof David
Authors: Marang-van de Mheen, M., Davey Smith, G., Hart, C., and Hole, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:International Journal of Epidemiology
ISSN:0300-5771

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