The APHEA 2 project investigated short-term health effects of particles in eight European cities. In each city associations between particles with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 microm (PM(10)) and black smoke and daily counts of emergency hospital admissions for asthma (0-14 and 15-64 yr), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and all-respiratory disease (65+ yr) controlling for environmental factors and temporal patterns were investigated. Summary PM(10) effect estimates (percentage change in mean number of daily admissions per 10 microg/m(3) increase) were asthma (0-14 yr) 1.2% (95% CI: 0.2, 2.3), asthma (15-64 yr) 1.1% (0.3, 1.8), and COPD plus asthma and all-respiratory (65+ yr) 1.0% (0.4, 1.5) and 0.9% (0.6, 1.3). The combined estimates for Black Smoke tended to be smaller and less precisely estimated than for PM(10). Variability in the sizes of the PM(10) effect estimates between cities was also investigated. In the 65+ groups PM(10) estimates were positively associated with annual mean concentrations of ozone in the cities. For asthma admissions (0-14 yr) a number of city-specific factors, including smoking prevalence, explained some of their variability. This study confirms that particle concentrations in European cities are positively associated with increased numbers of admissions for respiratory diseases and that some of the variation in PM(10) effect estimates between cities can be explained by city characteristics.
Recent analyses based on UK data indicate that people who stop smoking, even well into middle age, avoid most of their subsequent risk of lung cancer. We investigated whether similar absolute risks of lung cancer in men are found in other European countries with different smoking patterns and at different stages of their lung cancer epidemic. Using data for men from a multicentre case-control study of lung cancer in the UK, Germany, Italy and Sweden, and including 6523 lung cancer cases and 9468 controls, we combined odds ratio estimates with estimates of national lung cancer incidence rates to calculate the cumulative risk of lung cancer among men by age 75. Lung cancer cumulative risks by age 75 among continuing smokers were similar for the UK, Germany and Italy at 15.7, 14.3 and 13.8% respectively, whereas the cumulative risk among Swedish male smokers was 6.6%. The proportion of the risk of lung cancer avoided by quitting smoking before the age of 40 was comparable between the four countries, at 80% in Italy and 91% in the UK, Germany and Sweden. Similarly, the proportion of the excess risk avoided by quitting before the age of 50 ranged from 57% in Italy to 69% in Germany. Our results support the important conclusion that for long-term smokers, giving up smoking in middle age avoids most of the subsequent risk of lung cancer, and that lung cancer mortality in European men over the next three decades will be determined by the extent to which current smokers can successfully quit smoking.