Second-hand smoke and the risk of tuberculosis: a systematic review and a meta-analysis

Omara Fatima Dogar, N Pillai, N. Safdar, Sarwat Karam Shah, Raana Zahid, Kamran Siddiqi

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There is limited evidence and lack of consensus whether second-hand smoke (SHS) increases risk of tuberculosis (TB), which has substantial implications for unrestricted smoking indoors and TB control policies. We aimed to establish the association between SHS and the risk of acquiring and worsening of TB in non-smokers. We identified 428 articles in the initial search and 12 comparative epidemiological studies met our inclusion criteria. Exposure to SHS was found to have a higher risk of TB infection [risk ratio (RR) 1·19, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·90–1·57] compared to non-exposure; however, this did not reach statistical significance. There was marked variability (I2 = 74%, P = 0·0008) between studies’ results, which could be explained by the differences in the diagnostic criteria used. Exposure to SHS was found to be statistically significantly associated (RR 1·59, 95% CI 1·11–2·27) with the risk of TB disease. There was significant heterogeneity (I2 = 77%, P = 0·0006) between studies’ results, which was sourced to the internal characteristics of the studies rather than combining different study designs. We did not find any studies for SHS and TB treatment-related outcomes. Thus, we conclude that SHS exposure may increase the risk of acquiring TB infection and progression to TB disease; however, the evidence remains scanty and weak.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Early online date29 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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