Lung Function Effects of SHS in Flight Attendants

Professor of Medicine

Current research, as a member of the FAMRI (Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute) Center of Excellence, with Principal Investigator Rita Redberg, examines the long-term effects of second hand cigarette smoke on flight attendants. Pilot studies have shown that 40% of nonsmoking flight attendants who worked on commercial airlines prior to the ban on cigarette smoking developed diffusion defects. These diffusion defects are associated with airway obstruction and air trapping. During exercise, all pre-ban flight attendants show an abnormally limited increase in diffusing capacity with increased pulmonary blood flow. Current studies are designed to compare lung function at rest and during exercise in pre-ban fight attendants with post-ban flight attendants, and nonsmokers who live and work at sea level stratified by second-hand smoke exposure.