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Research Summary

Does Drinking Affect Pneumoconiosis?

Drinking adversely affects a range of comorbid illnesses. Little is known, however, about its impact on pneumoconiosis. Researchers recruited 300 Chinese patients with pneumoconiosis from a community-based case registry and examined the prevalence and effects of alcohol consumption on health-related quality (HRQOL) and lung function (defined as predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1%]).

  • Seventy-two percent reported being abstinent in the past year. Among the drinkers, 88% consumed <7 drinks per week, and none drank >21 drinks per week.
  • Drinkers were younger and had less concurrent medical illness than did nondrinkers.
  • Drinkers also had significantly better HRQOL and FEV1%, though findings for the latter were of borderline significance when analyses adjusted for potential confounders (e.g., age, concurrent medical illness).


In this cross-sectional evaluation, few Chinese patients with pneumoconiosis consumed any alcohol, and few of the drinkers drank heavily. Drinkers had better HRQOL and (potentially) lung function than did nondrinkers, perhaps because healthier people chose to drink. The impact of heavy drinking on people with pneumoconiosis remains unknown.

Joseph Conigliaro, MD, MPH


Tang WK, Lum CM, Ungvari GS, et al. Alcohol consumption, lung function, and quality of life in pneumoconiosis. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2005;29(7):1230–1236.