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Regular Smoking in Childhood Linked to Asthma

Children and adolescents who report regular smoking have nearly fourfold risk for new-onset asthma

THURSDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Children and adolescents who report regular smoking have a nearly fourfold risk for developing asthma, according to a report in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Frank Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, and colleagues recruited 2,609 fourth- and seventh-grade California children with no history of asthma or wheezing and followed them annually until their graduation to determine an association between regular smoking and new-onset asthma.

Children who reported smoking at least 300 cigarettes within the past year had a relative risk of 3.9 for new-onset asthma compared with non-smokers. The risk was greater in non-allergic compared with allergic children and in those exposed to cigarette smoke in utero.

"The clinical and public health implications for our findings are far reaching," the authors write. "Effective tobacco control efforts focusing on the prevention of smoking in children, adolescents and women of childbearing age are urgently needed to reduce the number of these preventable cases of asthma."

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