Active and Passive Smoking and Serum Total Bilirubin in a Rural Korean Population

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Abstract

Introduction:

Serum bilirubin is an endogenous antioxidant biomarker and its low level is a potential risk factor for smoking related health disorders. This study investigated the association of cigarette smoke with serum total bilirubin among Koreans.

Methods:

Between 2006 and 2011, we examined 4899 Korean adults living in a rural community. After excluding 38 participants with serum bilirubin more than 2mg/dL, 75 participants who did not report their smoking status or who had liver or bile duct disorders, and 711 participants with liver enzymes exceeding the upper reference values, we performed a cross-sectional analysis on 4075 participants. Participants were classified into four groups: never-smokers without secondhand smoke exposure (SHSE), never-smokers with SHSE, former smokers, and active smokers. Serum total bilirubin concentration was measured using the enzyme method.

Results:

Compared to never-smokers without SHSE, never-smokers with SHSE (β = –0.025mg/dL), former smokers (β = –0.049mg/dL), and active smokers (β = –0.149mg/dL) had significantly lower serum bilirubin even after adjusting for demographic factors, study year, alanine aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, hemoglobin, lifestyle factors, and chronic diseases. A sex-stratified analysis indicated that for men, former smokers and active smokers were significantly associated with having lower bilirubin when compared to never-smokers without SHSE. However, for women, never-smokers with SHSE and active smokers were significantly associated with having lower bilirubin when compared to never-smokers without SHSE.

Conclusion:

Our findings suggest that both active and passive cigarette smoking are associated with low serum bilirubin among Korean adults.

Implications:

Our results suggest that not only active smoking but also passive smoking including SHSE can have an influence on decreasing serum bilirubin levels. With this different point of view, our study supports efforts to create smoke-free environments in order to foster more favorable serum bilirubin profiles, which may improve endothelial function and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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