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A Journal on Sports Medicine


Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2014 December;67(4):593-601

language: English, Italian

Diffusion of smoking in competitive sport

Di Cave P., Appodia M., Todaro A.

Istituto di Medicina e Scienza dello Sport “Antonio Venerando”, Roma, Italia


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AIM: The aim of our investigation was to provide an up-to-date contribution on the diffusion of tobacco smoking in the world of competitive sport and the effects of smoking on the respiratory apparatus.
METHODS: In a sample of 1178 healthy athletes engaging in sport at competitive level we examined individual tobacco consumption expressed as P/Y (packs/year) and the spirometric data of FEV1 and MMEF, expressed as a percentage variation from the predicted value.
RESULTS: Our investigation found that 8.49% of athletes examined were habitual smokers however modest the consumption (2.5 P/Y), the athletes engaging prevalently in team sports (53%). In smoker athletes we did not observe any significant relationship between number of cigarettes smoked (P/Y) and FEV1 value. We did however note a significant relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked and the decrease in MMEF (P=0.0172), an indication of the changes present at the initial stages of a smoking-related obstructive syndrome. No significant correlation was observed in ex-smokers between the values of FEV1 and MMEF and that of P/Y.
CONCLUSIONS: The data confirm the diffusion of the tobacco habit in the world of sport and document the damaging effects of cigarette smoking on the small airways as measured by MMEF, and show that stopping smoking reduces the risk of chronic smoking-related pathology, especially in those who also engage in sport.

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