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Cigarette Smoking and Upper Respiratory Infection among Recruits in Basic Combat Training

Gregory H. Blake, MD; Troy D. Abell, PhD, MPH; and Wayne G. Stanley, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

Requests for Reprints: Gregory H. Blake, MD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, P.O. Box 26901, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73190.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Blake and Abell: Department of Family Medicine, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Oklahoma City, OK 73190.

Dr. Stanley: Fort Polk Department of Primary Care and Community Medicine, Bayne Jones Army Community Hospital, Fort Polk, LA 71459.


© 1988 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1988;109(3):198-202. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-109-3-198
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Study Objective: To determine the relation between cigarette smoking and upper respiratory infection or viral syndrome.

Design: A prospective cohort study of soldiers during 13 weeks of basic combat training. Each soldier received a smoking questionnaire before the beginning and at the conclusion of basic combat training. The incidence of respiratory illness among the recruits was evaluated.

Setting: Fort Benning, Georgia.

Participants: 1230 soldiers met the criteria for inclusion and completed the study.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and Main Results: According to the definition of smoking status in the initial questionnaire, smokers had a relative risk for upper respiratory infection of 1.46 (95% CI, 1.1 to 1.8). This effect was not substantially altered by different definitions of smoking status.

Conclusions: Young military recruits who smoked during basic combat training had more upper respiratory infections than nonsmokers. Cigarette smoking can substantially increase the risk for upper respiratory infection in young men.

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