The effect of tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption on the prevalence of self-reported hand eczema: a cross-sectional population-based study
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BACKGROUND: Hand eczema is a prevalent disorder that leads to high health care costs as well as a decreased quality of life. Important risk factors include atopic dermatitis, contact allergy and wet work whereas the role of null mutations in the filaggrin gene complex remains to be clarified. It has been debated whether life-style factors such as tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption are associated with hand eczema. OBJECTIVES: The current study aimed to investigate whether self-reported hand eczema was associated with smoking and alcohol consumption in the general population. METHODS: Between June 2006 and May 2008, a cross-sectional study was performed in the general population in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. A random sample of 7931 subjects aged 18-69 years old was invited to participate in a general health examination including a questionnaire; 3471 (44%) participated. Data were analysed with logistic regression analyses and associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). RESULTS: The prevalence of hand eczema was higher among previous smokers (OR = 1.13; CI = 0.90-1.40), current light smokers (OR = 1.51; CI = 1.14-2.02) and current heavy smokers (OR = 1.38; CI = 0.99-1.92) compared with never-smokers. CONCLUSIONS: Tobacco smoking was positively associated with hand eczema among adults from the general population in Denmark. Apparently, current light smokers (< 15 g daily) had a higher prevalence of hand eczema than current heavy smokers (> 15 g daily) but this needs to be reconfirmed. Alcohol consumption was not associated with hand eczema.