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Rise in Cigarette Use may Elucidate Asthma Epidemic in Children

symptoms.

Both genetic and environmental risk factors for asthma have been recognized, noted Dr. Goodwin. Internationally, six studies have shown environment tobacco smoke to be a risk factor of incident asthma. The risk for the growth of childhood asthma was 2.5 times greater in young children with mothers who smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day indoors compared with mothers who smoke fewer cigarettes or not at all.

Contact with environmental tobacco smoke, particularly in the home, increases a childs chances of developing asthma by 63 percent according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Cigarette use, presently considered one of the most serious public health problems globally, has become ever more concentrated among economically and socially deprived segments of the population, as well as among younger persons.

Previous data that show more recent higher rates of cigarette smoking among lower socioeconomic status segments of the population within the United States are consistent with our theory, since these are the most vulnerable segments of the population among whom rates of childhood asthma are currently the most concentrated, Dr. Goodwin said.

Although cigarette consumption has declined in some segments of the United States population since its peak around 1981, the consequences and health effects of the drastic increase in the mid-1980s are still affecting adults and children, she added.


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