Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Medicine and BioMed Central.

Journal App

google play app store
Open Access Research article

Systematic review of the evidence relating FEV1 decline to giving up smoking

Peter N Lee* and John S Fry

Author Affiliations

P.N. Lee Statistics and Computing Ltd, Surrey, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medicine 2010, 8:84  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-84

Published: 14 December 2010

Abstract

Background

The rate of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) decline ("beta") is a marker of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease risk. The reduction in beta after quitting smoking is an upper limit for the reduction achievable from switching to novel nicotine delivery products. We review available evidence to estimate this reduction and quantify the relationship of smoking to beta.

Methods

Studies were identified, in healthy individuals or patients with respiratory disease, that provided data on beta over at least 2 years of follow-up, separately for those who gave up smoking and other smoking groups. Publications to June 2010 were considered. Independent beta estimates were derived for four main smoking groups: never smokers, ex-smokers (before baseline), quitters (during follow-up) and continuing smokers. Unweighted and inverse variance-weighted regression analyses compared betas in the smoking groups, and in continuing smokers by amount smoked, and estimated whether beta or beta differences between smoking groups varied by age, sex and other factors.

Results

Forty-seven studies had relevant data, 28 for both sexes and 19 for males. Sixteen studies started before 1970. Mean follow-up was 11 years. On the basis of weighted analysis of 303 betas for the four smoking groups, never smokers had a beta 10.8 mL/yr (95% confidence interval (CI), 8.9 to 12.8) less than continuing smokers. Betas for ex-smokers were 12.4 mL/yr (95% CI, 10.1 to 14.7) less than for continuing smokers, and for quitters, 8.5 mL/yr (95% CI, 5.6 to 11.4) less. These betas were similar to that for never smokers. In continuing smokers, beta increased 0.33 mL/yr per cigarette/day. Beta differences between continuing smokers and those who gave up were greater in patients with respiratory disease or with reduced baseline lung function, but were not clearly related to age or sex.

Conclusion

The available data have numerous limitations, but clearly show that continuing smokers have a beta that is dose-related and over 10 mL/yr greater than in never smokers, ex-smokers or quitters. The greater decline in those with respiratory disease or reduced lung function is consistent with some smokers having a more rapid rate of FEV1 decline. These results help in designing studies comparing continuing smokers of conventional cigarettes and switchers to novel products.