To estimate how the level of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in pregnancy, childhood and adulthood vary with personal characteristics in a general population.
In 1996/1997, a community sample of 3181 adults, aged 26-82, received a mailed questionnaire, to which 2819 subjects responded. The prevalences of ETS exposure were estimated according to sex, age, educational level, smoking, occupational dust or gas exposure and exposure to moulds. Logistic regression was used to estimate the adjusted odds ratios for the different ETS exposures with respect to these covariates.
Altogether 9% reported exposure to maternal smoking in foetal life and 23% in childhood. Fourteen percent reported current domestic ETS exposure, while 13% reported current occupational ETS. Occupational ETS exposure was more frequent among men (16%) than women (10%). The oldest subjects (61-82 years) reported less ETS exposures than the younger subjects. Current smokers and subjects with occupational dust or fumes exposure had a higher prevalence for all the ETS exposures compared to ex- and never smokers and subjects without occupational exposure, respectively.
From a general population sample male sex, younger age, current smoking, and occupational dust or fumes exposure were associated with higher level of ETS exposure.