Association between Smoking and Latent Tuberculosis in the U.S. Population: An Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

David J. Horne, Monica Campo, Justin R. Ortiz, Eyal Oren, Matthew Arentz, Kristina Crothers, Masahiro Narita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Evidence of an association between cigarette smoking and latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is based on studies in special populations and/or from high prevalence settings. We sought to evaluate the association between LTBI and smoking in a low prevalence TB setting using population-based data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Methods: In 1999-2000, NHANES assessed LTBI (defined as a tuberculin skin test measurement ≥10 mm) in participants, and those ≥20 years of age were queried regarding their tobacco use and serum cotinine was measured. We evaluated the association of LTBI with self-reported smoking history and smoking intensity in multivariable logistic regression models that adjusted for known confounders (gender, age, birthplace, race/ethnicity, poverty, education, history of BCG vaccination, and history of household exposure to tuberculosis disease). Results: Estimated LTBI prevalence was 5.3% among those ≥20 years of age. The LTBI prevalence among never smokers, current smokers, and former smokers was 4.1%, 6.6%, and 6.2%, respectively. In a multivariable model, current smoking was associated with LTBI (OR 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.9). The association between smoking and LTBI was strongest for Mexican-American and black individuals. In multivariate analysis stratified by race/ethnicity, cigarette packs per day among Mexican-American smokers and cotinine levels among black smokers, were significantly associated with LTBI. Conclusions: In the large, representative, population-based NHANES sample, smoking was independently associated with significantly increased risks of LTBI. In certain populations, a greater risk of LTBI corresponded with increased smoking exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere49050
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 8 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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