Although fewer children and adolescents with asthma were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke in recent years, too many children are still exposed to tobacco in the home, according to the results of a new survey.
Researchers from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys reviewed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data on 2,250 patients aged 4 to 19 years who had asthma. The researchers compared data on those who had asthma during three separate time periods: 1988-1994, 1999-2004 and 2005-2010.
Despite reductions in the amount of children exposed to tobacco smoke among youth (aged 4-19 years) with asthma who did not use tobacco products, 53.2 percent were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke and 17.6 percent had in-home smoke exposure. The researchers said children living in low-income homes were more likely to be exposed to smoke than those in higher income areas.
This analysis, published in the journal Pediatrics, indicates that more than one in six children with asthma were reported to live with an in-home smoker. The proportion of children with asthma in smoking homes is similar to the general pediatric population, despite the focused recommendations from national asthma guidelines for those with asthma to avoid environmental tobacco smoke.
The creation and enforcement of tobacco laws have reduced the number of areas where smoking is allowed, but it is clear that more work must be done. Even when living in smoke-free communities, children can still be exposed to tobacco in the home.