Alcohol consumption and airway obstruction

B. H. Cohen, D. D. Celentano, G. A. Chase, E. L. Diamond, C. G. Graves, D. A. Levy, H. A. Menkes, M. B. Meyer, S. Permutt, M. S. Tockman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


To clarify the basis of the reported association between alcohol and pulmonary disease, the relationship between intake of alcohol and pulmonary function was examined in 2,539 community-dwelling adult participants in an ongoing longitudinal study of risk factors for airway obstruction. Forced expiratory volume in 1 s, expressed as a percentage of forced vital capacity, was used as the indicator of airway obstruction, and forced vital capacity expressed as a percentage of the predicted value was used as an index of restriction. Although crude (unadjusted) mean values of the ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 s to forced vital capacity were significantly lower for heavy than for light drinkers, the difference disappeared when adjustment was made for numerous confounding factors (including such recognized risk factors for pulmonary disease as cigarette smoking, low socioeconomic status, male sex, and age). There was also no evidence of an association between consumption of alcohol and airway restriction. Although these findings do not rule out a possible effect of alcohol on pulmonary disease, its impact, if any, is probably the result of interaction with other factors associated with alcoholism, if not derived primarily from those other factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-215
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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