Second-hand Smoke Linked to Asthma Complications

Childhood secondhand smoke exposure linked to AERD risk in adults

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The case against second-hand smoking is getting stronger. Adults exposed to second-hand smoke as a child were more likely to develop asprin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD).

A new study shows a strong association between exposure to second-hand smoke as a child and developing AERD. This study sheds even more light on the dangers of second-hand smoke and that there can be long-term problems linked to second-hand smoke exposure.

"Ask your allergist to asses your asthma symptoms."

AERD affects 10 percent of asthma patients and around 33 percent of asthma patients who have chronic sinus inflammation. Patients with AERD cannot take aspirin as it can cause an asthma attack or trigger other respiratory problems.

The study involved 520 patients, 260 had asthma and AERD. Children exposed to second-hand smoke were more than three times as likely to develop AERD as adults than children who were not exposed to second-hand smoke, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). AERD sufferers were five times as likely to have been exposed to second-hand smoke both as a child and in their adulthood.

Smokers were also linked to a higher risk AERD than people who have never smoked before. Smokers were more than one and a half times as likely to have AERD than non-smokers.

According to co-author Donald Stevenson, MD., no matter the level of exposure, second-hand smoke is just not safe. There are many risk factors associated with second-hand smoke and smokers are putting their families at risk for future respiratory problems says Dr. Stevenson. 

Second-hand smoke exposure has been reduced in many areas, thanks to regulations banning smoking in restaurants or public spaces. While that may reduce the risk of incidental exposure, there still may be exposure at home. Second-hand smoke at home can lead to asthma as well as asthma with AERD.

Childhood exposure to second-hand smoke has lasting impact into adulthood. While adults with asthma and AERD cannot turn the clock back and stop the exposure, smokers can do something to help. Smokers can quit which will eliminate second-hand smoke that their children or spouses may be exposed to.

This study was published in the December edition of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 22, 2011
Last Updated:
December 23, 2011