HEALTHPLAN MAGAZINE

STUDY: Passive Smoking Increases Severity Of Asthma In Children Health News

A new study carried out by Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid has shown that four out of 10 children suffering from asthmatic problems are exposed to passive smoking.

The study “Impact of passive smoking on pulmonary function and severity of asthma in the pediatric population” has been published in the scientific journal of the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR) and showed that four out of ten children who are admitted to hospital are exposed to passive smoking and have symptoms that are far more severe than children who are not exposed to tobacco smoke.

It also showed of 41% of asthmatic children who were passive smokers, 14% of them lived with a father who smoked, 6% with a mother who smoked, 19% came from a household where both parents smoked and 2% were around other family members who smoked.

Asthmatic cases proved to be more severe when the child's father was the smoker, compared to the mother. This could however be down to differences between the parents, for example :- the number of cigarettes smoked or the type of tobacco used.

Research also showed that these ‘passive smoking’ children had worse symptoms than those asthmatic children who lived with non-smokers.

Symptoms such as

  • Lower oxygen saturation at the time of admission
  • Worst lung function parameters
  • Higher score on the asthmatic severity scale
  • More previous cases of bronchiolitis (68% of passive smoking children, compared with 56% of passive non-smoking children) or bronchospasm
  • More visits to the emergency room in the three months before admission
  • A greater alteration of pulmonary function in the two months following the acute episode.

Professionals who took part in the study stated, "The bronchial hyperreactivity of asthmatic children makes them more vulnerable to environmental pollutants such as tobacco smoke, as it increases inflammation in the airway, bronchial secretion and limitation to air flow".

The case study was carried out during the years of 2011 to 2015 and with children between the ages of four and 16 years of age, who at some point needed to be admitted to Gregorio Marañón Hospital due to asthmatic problems. In total 365 patients were studied, with an average age of five years of age and four days of hospitalisation.

Talking about these studies and data, Antonio Moreno, coordinator of the Pediatric Pulmonology Department of SEPAR said “Asthma and passive smoking are a bad binomial, since asthmatic children suffer from bronchial hyperreactivity and are more vulnerable to environmental pollutants, such as smoke from tobacco, which increases airway inflammation, bronchial secretion and airflow limitation.

Everyone knows that smoking during pregnancy has been linked to causing serious damage to a baby’s health. But it is also linked with increasing the risk of asthma and higher frequency of pulmonary respiratory infections during those first two precious years of development.

When a baby is born it is still dangerous for it to be in an environment filled with smoke. Not only can it increase the risk of sudden infant death, it can also lead to an increased risk in acute infections of the respiratory tract and asthma.

Experts insist that there is a real need to carry out preventative measures to stop smoking in family homes, children’s respiratory health must be protected.

Closing doors or opening windows in our home or cars when we smoke is quite honestly not enough. Nicotine particles still manage to attach themselves to surfaces, meaning children will still inhale smoke.

In Spain alone, 50% of Spanish children live with at least one smoker in their home. This causes serious damage to their health because they are inhaling smoke, causing them to be passive smokers.

It is so very important that parents start recognising this and become aware of this alarming reality.

Allow children to be brought up in a healthy and smoke free environment!

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay