Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2005; 9 (1): 23-30

Epidemiology of passive smoke: a prospective study in 589 children

A. Cantani, M. Micera

Allergy and Clinical Immunology Division, Department of Pediatrics, University “La Sapienza” – Rome (Italy)


Abstract. – Background: Several studies have found that in children of smoking parents there is an increased incidence of respiratory illnesses and diminished pulmonary function. In infants of smoking atopic parents IgE levels are higher, atopic symptoms start earlier, and children are more likely to wheeze if the mother smokes than if she does not. Maternal smoking of 0.5 packs or more/day was identified as a risk for asthma developing in the 1st year of life. Among the environmental measures of our prevention program there is an absolute prohibition of smoking in the house of a “at risk” baby. Materials and Methods: We have studied 289 atopic children, 169 males and 120 females, aged 3.5 to 7.5 years, attending our Division because affected by respiratory allergy. We have asked their parents if they smoked and if there were smoking relatives in their homes, independently of the number or the packs of cigarette smoked. The parents of 300 children comparable for age and sex visiting our outpatient clinic for non respiratory disease served as controls. Results: Smokers were 175 fathers and 109 mothers of the asthmatic children and 153 fathers and 89 mothers of the controls. Discussion: Analysis of data shows that passive smoking is significantly associated with the development of asthma in atopic children, and that males are more at risk than females. We stress that a high number of asthmatic children have atopic, and asthmatic parents. Cigarette smoke is not only a triggering factor of respiratory allergy in babies at risk of atopy, but especially an additional genetic factor, since asthma can be more easily provoked if an atopic parent smokes (more if both parents smoke), and even in children of not atopic, smoking parents.

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To cite this article

A. Cantani, M. Micera
Epidemiology of passive smoke: a prospective study in 589 children

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2005
Vol. 9 - N. 1
Pages: 23-30