By City Guide News Desk

Secondhand Smoke: More Bad News


We know that children exposed to tobacco smoke in the home are more likely to suffer from asthma. But a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported in Chest, now finds that not only the existence but also the amount of smoke matters too. Researchers studied over 500 asthmatic children aged four through 16. They noted the severity of asthma as indicated by frequency of cough, wheeze, and respiratory illnesses, and lung function test results. They also checked blood levels of cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine that accumulates in the blood and urine after inhalation of tobacco smoke. The researchers found that children with higher cotinine levels — signifying greater exposure to tobacco smoke — were significantly more likely to have more severe asthma. Lung function in this group was on average 8 percent lower than children with asthma who had not been exposed to cigarette smoke. “The results of this study are not surprising," says Sidney Braman, M.D., F.C.C.P., president of the American College of Chest Physicians. "What is shocking is that these 523 children represent approximately 4.3 million U.S. children with asthma, making the no-smoking message to parents and caretakers of children with asthma even more compelling."