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Rationale: Little evidence from large-scale cohort studies exists about the relationship of solid fuel use with hospitalization and mortality from major respiratory diseases. Objectives: To examine the associations of solid fuel use and risks of acute and chronic respiratory diseases. Methods: A cohort study of 277,838 Chinese never-smokers with no prior major chronic diseases at baseline. During 9 years of follow-up, 19,823 first hospitalization episodes or deaths from major respiratory diseases, including 10,553 chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD), 4,398 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 7,324 acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI), were recorded. Cox regression yielded adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for disease risks associated with self-reported primary cooking fuel use. Measurements and Main Results: Overall, 91% of participants reported regular cooking, with 52% using solid fuels. Compared with clean fuel users, solid fuel users had an adjusted HR of 1.36 (95% confidence interval, 1.32-1.40) for major respiratory diseases, whereas those who switched from solid to clean fuels had a weaker HR (1.14, 1.10-1.17). The HRs were higher in wood (1.37, 1.33-1.41) than coal users (1.22, 1.15-1.29) and in those with prolonged use (>40 yr, 1.54, 1.48-1.60; ,20 yr, 1.32, 1.26-1.39), but lower among those who used ventilated than nonventilated cookstoves (1.22, 1.19-1.25 vs. 1.29, 1.24-1.35). For CLRD, COPD, and ALRI, the HRs associated with solid fuel use were 1.47 (1.41-1.52), 1.10 (1.03-1.18), and 1.16 (1.09-1.23), respectively. Conclusions: Among Chinese adults, solid fuel use for cooking was associated with higher risks of major respiratory disease admissions and death, and switching to clean fuels or use of ventilated cookstoves had lower risk than not switching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-361
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This article is open access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


  • Acute lower respiratory infection
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Household air pollution
  • Solid fuels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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