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Short term effects of cigarette smoking on hospitalisation and associated lost workdays in a young healthy population


OBJECTIVE There are relatively few published studies conducted among people of younger ages examining short term outcomes of cigarette smoking, and only a small number with outcomes important to employers. The present study was designed to assess the short term effects of smoking on hospitalisation and lost workdays.

DESIGN Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING Military population.

SUBJECTS 87 991 men and women serving on active duty in the US Army during 1987 to 1998 who took a health risk appraisal two or more times and were followed for an average of 2.4 years.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Rate ratios for hospitalisations and lost workdays, and fraction of hospitalisations and lost workdays attributable to current smoking (population attributable fraction).

RESULTS Compared with never smokers, men and women who were current smokers had higher short term rates of hospitalisation and lost workdays for a broad range of conditions. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) for outcomes not related to injury or pregnancy were 7.5% (men) and 5.0% (women) for hospitalisation, and 14.1% (men) and 3.0% (women) for lost workdays. Evidence suggests that current smoking may have been under reported in this cohort, in which case the true PAFs would be higher than those reported.

CONCLUSIONS In this young healthy population, substantial fractions of hospitalisations and lost workdays were attributable to current smoking, particularly among men.

  • young men
  • hospitalisation
  • lost workdays
  • employers

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