A portable air cleaner partially reduces the upper respiratory response to sidestream tobacco smoke

Rebecca Bascom, Thomas K. Fitzgerald, Jana Kesavanathan, David L. Swift

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a common indoor pollutant which often causes acute upper respiratory tract symptoms and measurable nasal congestion. This study evaluated the effect of a room air cleaner on the response to sidestream tobacco smoke (SS) in 12 healthy, nonsmoking adults with previously documented subjective and objective upper respiratory congestive responses to SS. Each subject served as his or her own control and was exposed in a climate- controlled chamber on 2 days, each separated by at least 2 weeks, to SS (15 ppm carbon monoxide, 2 hours, at rest) in the presence of a functioning (AC) or sham room air cleaner. Subjects recorded symptoms and underwent posterior rhinomanometry and acoustic rhinometry. The AC significandy reduced the concentration of particles, total organic vapors, and nicotine, but not carbon monoxide. The AC reduced symptoms of headache [1.4 ± 0.3 sham (net postexposure) versus 0.5 ± 0.2 AC, p < 0.001, analysis of variance] and rhinorrhea (1.8 ± 0.4 sham versus 0.8 ± 0.3 AC, p < 0.0001) and minimum cross-sectional area of the nasal passage (-0.11 ± 0.06 cm2 sham versus –0.02 ± 0.03 cm2 AC, p < 0.0.01). Symptoms of nasal congestion, nasal irritation, and measured mid-nasal volume were not altered. These data indicate that a portable room air cleaner can significandy reduce, although not eliminate, the acute response to a relatively high concentration of SS in healthy subjects with a history of symptoms associated with ETS exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-559
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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