Risk factors for chronic mucus hypersecretion in individuals with and without COPD: influence of smoking and job exposure on CMH.


Chronic mucus hypersecretion (CMH) is highly prevalent in smokers and associated with an accelerated lung function decline and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Several risk factors contribute to CMH and to COPD. It is, however, unknown if risk factors for CMH are similar in persons with and without COPD.


1479 persons with and 8529 without COPD, participating in the general population-based LifeLines cohort, completed questionnaires and underwent spirometry. Occupational exposure was assessed using the ALOHA+ job exposure matrix. Analyses were performed using multiple logistic regression models.


In COPD, a significantly higher risk for CMH was associated with higher pack-years smoking (per 10 pack-years) (OR=1.28; 1.12 to 1.46) and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) (OR=2.06; 1.33 to 3.19). In non-COPD; male gender (OR=1.91; 1.51 to 2.41), higher Body Mass Index (OR=1.04; 1.01 to 1.06), higher pack-years smoking (OR=1.28; 1.14 to 1.44), current smoking (OR=1.50; 1.04 to 2.18), low and high exposure to mineral dust (OR=1.39; 1.04 to 1.87 and OR=1.60; 1.02 to 2.52), high exposure to gases & fumes (OR=2.19; 1.49 to 3.22). Significant interactions were found between COPD and exposure to gases & fumes (p=0.018) and aromatic solvents (p=0.038).


A higher risk for CMH was associated with higher pack-years smoking regardless of COPD status. However, a higher risk for CMH was associated with high occupational exposure to gases & fumes in individuals without COPD only.


Materials, exposures and occupational groups

year of publication



  • Occup Environ Med.


  • Dijkstra, AE
  • de Jong, K
  • Boezen, HM
  • Kromhout, H
  • Vermeulen, R
  • Groen, HJ
  • Postma, DS
  • Vonk, JM.

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