Secondhand Smoke Related to Year-Round Asthma Among Kids

Children with asthma who have at least one parent who smokes are twice as likely to have asthma symptoms all year long compared with children of non-smokers, according to researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M) Health System.

The involved in-depth telephone interviews with 896 parents of asthmatic children ages 2 to 12 years old in 10 states. “We set out to look at children who have seasonal asthma symptoms, but found that a substantial percentage have symptoms year-round,” said Kathryn Slish, a researcher in the U-M Department of Pediatrics. “We looked more closely and found a strong relationship between parents’ smoking status and the likelihood that their child would have problems all year long.”

“The only other factor that was associated with year-round symptoms was Medicaid insurance coverage,” added Cabana.

With well-publicized information that secondhand smoke can trigger asthma in children, Slish said, “it’s astounding that so many parents smoke around their asthmatic kids, and don’t stop even though their children are having trouble breathing all year.”

The researchers recommended that pediatricians, family physicians, and nurses address the subject of smoking with the parents of any child diagnosed with asthma and to provide resources to encourage them to quit.

The study’s findings were presented May 4 at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting.