Objective-There are relatively few published studies conducted among people
of younger ages examining short term outcomes of cigarette smoking, and on
ly a small number with outcomes important to employers. The present study w
as designed to assess the short term effects of smoking on hospitalisation
and lost workdays.
Design-Retrospective cohort study.
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 fo
llowed for an average of 2.4 years.
Main outcome measures-Rate ratios for hospitalisations and lost workdays, a
nd fraction of hospitalisations and lost workdays attributable to current s
moking (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 bro
ad range of conditions. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) for outcom
es 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. Eviden
ce suggests that current smoking may have been under reported in this cohor
t, in which case the true PAFs would be higher than those reported.
Conclusions-In this young healthy population, substantial fractions of hosp
italisations and lost workdays were attributable to current smoking, partic
ularly among men.