Some recent discussions of adverse human health effects of active and passive smoking have suggested that low levels of exposure are disproportionately dangerous, so that “The effects of even brief (minutes to hours) passive smoking are often nearly as large (averaging 80% to 90%) as chronic active smoking” (Barnoya and Glantz, 2005). Recent epidemiological evidence (Teo et al., 2006) suggests a more linear relation. This paper reexamines the empirical relation between self-reported low levels of active smoking and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in public-domain data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Consistent with biological evidence on J- shaped and U-shaped relations between smoking-associated risk factors and CHD risks, we find that low levels of active smoking do not appear to be associated with increased CHD risk. Several methodological challenges in epidemiology may explain how model-derived estimates can predict low-dose linear or concave dose-response estimates, even if the empirical (i.e., data-based) relation does not show a clear increased risk at the lowest doses.
Cox, Jr, Louis Anthony (Tony)
"LOW-DOSE NONLINEAR EFFECTS OF SMOKING ON CORONARY HEART DISEASE RISK,"
Dose-Response: An International Journal: Vol. 10
, Article 9.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dose_response/vol10/iss2/9