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Passive Smoking, Asthma and Allergy in Children

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Despite the recent campaigns to eliminate smoking and hinder the detrimental effects of passive smoking (PS), actual smoking rates still increase worldwide. Several physiological systems, with the respiratory being the primary, are disrupted by PS and progressively deteriorate through chronic exposures. This is of particular importance in children, given that respiratory complications during childhood can be transferred to adulthood, lead to significantly inferior health profiles. Hence, it is no surprise that children that are exposed to PS either in utero or during their adulthood may have an increased prevalence of allergies and asthma. However, investigating the acute effects of PS in children is inherently limited by complexities pertaining mainly to ethical constrains. Knowledge of the acute effects could be very important as it is the dose-dependant acute effects of passive smoking that lead to the long-term adaptations linked with the development of allergy and asthma. Current available data show that the chemical and carcinogenic constituents of tobacco have profound effects on children's health as they may disrupt normal biological development. PS appears to have pronounced effects on respiratory parameters that promote asthma development and persistent wheezing rather than other allergies. As such, PS exposure has to be eliminated and researchers have to develop interventions for supporting smoking cessation as well as minimised PS exposure either this is in utero or during childhood.

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Keywords: Children; adolescence; allergy; asthma; health

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2009

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  • Inflammation & Allergy - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in inflammation and allergy e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in inflammation and allergy. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for anti-inflammation and allergy drug discovery continues to grow, this journal has become essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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