The prevalence of rhinitis and its association with smoking and obesity in a nationwide survey of Japanese adults


  • Edited by: Wytske Fokkens


Satoshi Konno, First Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Kita-15 Nishi-7 Kita-Ku, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.

Tel.: +81 11 716 1161 (Ext. 5911)

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Rhinitis is a common disease, and its prevalence is increasing worldwide. Several studies have provided evidence of a strong association between asthma and rhinitis. Although smoking and obesity have been extensively analyzed as risk factors of asthma, associations with rhinitis are less clear.


The aims of our study were (i) to evaluate the prevalence of rhinitis using the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaire in Japanese adults and (ii) to evaluate the associations of smoking and body mass index (BMI) with rhinitis.


Following our study conducted in 2006–2007 to determine the prevalence of asthma using the ECRHS questionnaire, our present analysis evaluates the prevalence of rhinitis and its association with smoking and BMI in Japanese adults 20–79 years of age (= 22819). We classified the subjects (20–44 or 45–79 years) into four groups as having (i) neither rhinitis nor asthma; (ii) rhinitis without asthma; (iii) asthma without rhinitis; or (iv) rhinitis with asthma. We then evaluated associations with smoking and BMI in each group.


The overall age-adjusted prevalence of rhinitis was 35.1% in men and 39.3% in women. A higher prevalence was observed in the younger population than in the older population. Active smoking and obesity were positively associated with asthma without rhinitis. In contrast, particularly in the 20- to 44-year age-group, active smoking and obesity were negatively associated with rhinitis without asthma.


The results of the present study suggest that smoking and obesity may have different effects on the development of rhinitis and asthma.