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Association between passive smoking and mental distress in adult never-smokers: a cross-sectional study
  1. Rui Wang,
  2. Peng Zhang,
  3. Xin Lv,
  4. Chunshi Gao,
  5. Yuanyuan Song,
  6. Zhijun Li,
  7. Yaqin Yu,
  8. Bo Li
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Jilin University School of Public Health, Jilin, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Bo Li; li_bo{at}


Objective Many studies have suggested exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is a risk factor for various somatic diseases, but only few studies based on small sample size or specific groups have explored the association between passive smoking and mental distress. We performed this study to examine the relationship between passive smoking and mental distress in adult never-smokers of north-east China.

Methods Multistage, stratified random cluster sampling design was used in this cross-sectional study in 2012. A total of 12 978 never-smokers from Jilin, north-east China, were included. Data on passive smoking and baseline characteristics were collected by face-to-face interviews. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was used to measure mental health status. Rao-Scott χ2 tests were used to compare the prevalence between different groups; multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association between passive smoking and mental distress, and Spearman rank analysis was employed to assess the correlation between passive smoking and GHQ-12 scores.

Results The estimated prevalence of mental distress among never-smokers in Jilin province is 24.5%, and the estimated prevalence of passive smoking among the mental distressing group is 65.0%. After adjusting for gender, age, region, body mass index (BMI), occupation, marriage, education, drinking status and family monthly income per capita, passive smoking conferred a risk for mental distress (adjusted OR=1.26, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.40). A high proportion of adults, especially women, were passive smokers at home, but for men, passive smoking was more common at workplace. The more frequently participants exposed to SHS, the higher GHQ-12 scores they got.

Conclusions Passive smoking is an important risk factor for mental distress in never-smokers of Jilin province, which reminds Chinese government of increasing the awareness of public health and take measure to prevent SHS, especially with regard to SHS exposure at home and workplace.

  • Chinese never-smokers
  • mental stress
  • passive smoking
  • GHQ-12

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