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Direct Research Journals
Vol.3 (2), pp. 32-37, June, 2015
ISSN: 2449-0814

Correlation of pack year of smoking and lung function variables in firefighters
Article Number: DRJA17085511

Original Research Article

*ALKALI MB1, Denue A. Ballah2, Bilkisu Mubi3, and Bandele EO4

1Consultant Chest Physician, Department of Medicine, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, P M B 1414, Maiduguri, Nigeria.

2,3Consultant  physician, Consultant Endocrinologist Department  of Medicine,University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital,  P M B 1414, Maiduguri, Nigeria.

4Medicine and Consultant Chest physician, Faculty of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, Lagos, Nigeria.

date Received: April 9, 2015     date Accepted: May 28, 2015     date Published: June 30, 2015


Cigarette smoking is responsible for vast majority of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. Inhalation of smoke is also known to cause a broad spectrum of adverse respiratory effects. The effect of the two is expected to cause significant pulmonary dysfunction. Reduced pulmonary function in fire fighters has been reported in other parts of the world. This study aimed to assess the pulmonary function in Nigerian firefighters who smoke for variable periods as measured by pack year of smoking and also to compare the pulmonary functions changes in smoking and non smoking firefighters. The study is a cross sectional comparison of Nigerian firefighters with at least two years of fire fighting experience. One hundred (100) smoking (cases) firefighters were matched to 101 non smokers (controls) .Information pertaining history and duration of smoking for calculating pack year of smoking was obtained from each smoker. clinical data of Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and the ratio of the FEV1 to the FVC as a percentage (FEV1/ FVC%) were measured and analyzed for both groups. Wright’s peak flow meter, Mechanical Spiro meter,non-stretchable metric tape rule. Normograph for predicted FEV1, FVC were used as investigative tools. Setting: Federal Fire Service stations in Lagos, Nigeria between July and August 2002.Even thought, all the subjects studied had evidence of obstructive airway disease, the FEV1/FVC test showed more difference of statistical significance in the age groups 30-39, and 40-49, respectively . FEV1/FVC (%), {(77 ±6[%] vs (74±4 [%] (p= 0.009)}, and FVE1/FVC {( 76 ± 6 [%] vs 71 ± 6 [%] ( P= 0.001 ). Correlations of pack year of smoking to FEV1/FVC and PEFR for each age group showed significant positive association.(P < 0.001). An incidental finding of restrictive air flow limitation was discovered amongst the cases 25(25%) compared to 0(0%) of controls (FEV1/ FVC 80-100% ,p < 0.01).Smoking firefighters must be educated and advise to quit smoking as it has additional lethal effect on the lungs apart from smoke inhalations respiratory. The use protective respiratory device is advised as non wore any device during any fire fighting operations. Quitting smoking offers immediate and long-term benefits, reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases and improves health in multiple ways.

Key words: Pack year of smoking, lung function, firefighters