ATS 2012, SAN FRANCISCO For more than three decades, researchers have warned of the potential health risks associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), especially among children whose parents smoke. Now a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona reports that those health risks persist well beyond childhood, independent of whether or not those individuals end up becoming smokers later in life.
The study will be presented at the ATS 2012 International Conference in San Francisco.
"This study shows that exposure to parental smoking increases the risk of persistence of respiratory symptoms from childhood into adulthood independent of personal smoking," said Juliana Pugmire, MPH, DrPH., research specialist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "Persistent respiratory illness in childhood and young adulthood could indicate an increased risk of chronic respiratory illness and lung function deficits in later life."
Although a significant proportion of children throughout the world are exposed to ETS, primarily as a result of their parents' smoking, there is little information regarding the long-term effects of that exposure, Dr. Pugmire noted.
"Earlier studies established a link between parental smoking and childhood respiratory illness, but in this study, we sought to demonstrate whether these effects persisted into adulthood," she said. "A handful of studies examined whether children exposed to parental smoking had asthma that developed or persisted in adulthood but most did not find an association.
"We examined asthma as well as other respiratory symptoms and found that exposure to parental smoking had the strongest association with cough and chronic cough that persisted into adult life," she continued. "Exposure to parental smoking also had effects, although weaker, on persistent wheezing and asthma in adulthood."
The researchers drew data from the Tucson Epidemi
|Contact: Nathaniel Dunford|
American Thoracic Society