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Free Content Exposure to tobacco smoke among asthmatic children: parents' smoking habits and level of education

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SETTING: Children's Hospital for Respiratory Diseases and Tuberculosis, Belgrade, Serbia.

OBJECTIVES: To compare parents' educational level and smoking habits with asthma in children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and in those not exposed.

METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 231 asthmatic children (average age 10.6 years, 49% boys) from smoking and non-smoking families were compared by birth weight, birth length, first episode of wheezing, number of respiratory infections and exacerbations per year, severity of asthma, number of hospitalisations, total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE), skin prick tests and allergic manifestations.

RESULTS: In our study, 77% of the children were from smoking families: 45.9% had active smoking mothers and 51% active smoking fathers. Smoking was more common among parents with lower education level. The mother being the only smoker in the family had a greater impact on respiratory infections and asthma exacerbations in the first years of life; however, after the third year, the effect of having both smoking parents was important. Children exposed to ETS had more allergic manifestations. The percentage of children with both non-smoking parents decreased and that of children with both smoking parents increased with increasing asthma severity (χ2 = 17.73, P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: ETS has a negative impact on illness among children with asthma.
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Keywords: asthma; children; environmental tobacco smoke; parents' education

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Children's Hospital for Respiratory Diseases and Tuberculosis, Belgrade, Serbia 2: AbC.R.O. Inc. Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia 3: Clinic for Pulmonary Diseases, Clinical Centre of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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