Does environmental tobacco smoke increase the risk of asthma in children?
Smoking is observed as a common habit among uncountable number of people belonging to various countries of the world. It is expected that the number of smokers will rise in the near future because of attractive marketing campaigns run by tobacco companies. There was a time when only men were habitual to smoking. In the modern 21st century, youngsters and girls are also exposed to the thrills of smoking. People love to smoke despite knowing about its detrimental effects.
It is interesting to mention that smoking kills not only the smokers but also the ones who hate it. It is an interesting study that non-smokers are subject to all harmful effects of smoking just because they are present in the environment where people smoke.
There is significant relationship between passive smoking and disease and mortality among children. Since their systems are delicate and immunity is weak, they are the most vulnerable members of society who can encounter the unfavourable influence of smoke hat is present in the environment. They breathe in polluted air at multiple places including their homes and schools, public places like restaurants, special resorts like child care settings etc.
There is nothing more hazardous among children's environmental exposure than the fact that they breathe in the air which is not clean and contaminated because of tobacco smoke. There is a huge pile of researches, articles and literature available showing links between prenatal maternal smokings, children's environment tobacco smoke exposure and decreased lung growth, increasing malfunction of respiratory systems and other problems related to asthma. These problems may be severe for the individuals if their exposure to smoky environment is high
There has been a rapid rise in the number of asthma cases in the Western societies. Though the reasons for asthma vary, but exposure to tobacco constituents continues to be the most common reason. In the United States, it is reported that the allergic diseases can be ranked as one of the major factors causing chronic diseases which affect approximately 17% people and the healthcare system bears approximately 18 billion USD cost per annum. Children suffering from asthma also have certain sort of allergies and they are involved in respiratory issues that are often the basic reason behind reversible airflow obstruction and chronic lung inflammation. It is also possible that asthma diagnosed in adults is more often non-allergic in nature.
This paper casts light on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and its exposure to individuals which becomes the major cause of asthma among young children. The population under consideration for this paper is particularly the young children, who are supposed to be more prone to these risks.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Asthma
Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) -- or passive smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke -- can be defined as the exposure of a non-smoking person to tobacco constituents from smoking by others.
Since the start of 1980s, many research studies have been conducted to identify the significant relationship between parental smoking, the likelihood to develop asthma and other related respiratory system issues.
A research study demonstrated that for the children living in inner parts of the city are more prone to dangerous effects of environmental tobacco. This is the reason, asthma is more commonly found among these children. The research highlights many points which are responsible for development of asthma in young kids. One of these reasons is the presence of smoker at homes where the children live. In other words, if any of family members is habitual to smoking, the likelihood of asthma increases. It must be considered with caution that the healthcare institutes and the developers of other intervention programs usually ignore this aspect and focus on other reasons of asthma. However, this point must also be considered (Kattan, et al., 1997).
Another study conducted by tested the urine cotinine levels of 199 children to find the links between exposures to environment smoke caused by tobacco in young kids. The median urine cotinine levels of 116 children were found as 5.6 ng per millilitre. It was noticed that many children are victims of asthma because of smoking habits of mother or other persons. The more the exposure was to the environment tobacco smoke; the increased acute exacerbations of asthma were reported. These exposures were either reported by the parents or were found through the urine cotinine levels. Measurement of urine cotinine levels from this study further assisted in collection of proof that there exists a relationship between asthma (and other respirator issues) and breathing in smoky air. The relationship is particularly valid for young children. The results from the data gathered in this study focus on the need for organised and dedicated efforts to control the exposure of young kids suffering from asthma to environmental tobacco smoke (Chilmonczyk, et al., 1993).
Another study was conducted collecting the sample of 5,762 children who were in the age of school going and used to live in 12 Southern California. The study was conducted to validate the relationship between asthma and mother's smoking habits during pregnancy. The study concluded that the children who live in the company f multiple smokers are more prone to its detrimental impacts as compared to the ones who live with single smoker. Furthermore, if mother smokes during pregnancy, the child is bound to receive the adverse effects. The study also found out that the smoking habits of women during pregnancy raises the probability that during childhood, asthma with occur (Gilliland, LI, & Peters, 2000).
Few researchers conducted a study on the factors of smoke exposure during prenatal and postnatal period and their likely impact on children's health. They concluded that Environment tobacco smoke exposure is the worst exposure for children. Environment tobacco smoke exposures are associated with many physical and mental problems. It is no exaggeration to state that many neurological orders are associated with smoke exposure. People may behave irrationally, or lose their intelligence. It is also possible that they may find it extremely difficult to quit smoking once they grow as their brought up is in smoky environment.
The study also concluded that the independent impact of exposure to smoke during both pre- and postnatal periods is high. There is a respiratory risk associated with parental smoking (DiFranza, Aligne, & Weitzman, 2003).
Another study led to the following four conclusions:
If mother smokes, the child will definitely have asthma during childhood.
The asthma developed during childhood may prolong for the rest of one's life.
Children may get addicted to smoking and start it as soon as they get access to smoking products.
If Environment Tobacco Smoke exposure is reduced, it can be instrumental in controlling the number of asthma cases reported in adults and children both.
This research concluded that it is essential to reduce the hazardous exposure of children to environment tobacco smoke. In order to reduce childhood exposure, parents have certain responsibilities. They must be imparted necessary training about its harmful effects of smoking so that they can save their kids from it. This can be done through strong support in family planning and pre-natal health care and at schools (Gilmour, Jaakkola, London, Nel, & Rogers, 2006).
Second-hand smoke is the smoke that is mixed in the air through burning end of smoking products like pipe, cigar and cigarette. It is also called as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and the process of breathing in the air containing second hand smoke is known as passive smoking or involuntary smoking. It means the smoker is not actively involved in using any smoking product but he is exposed to the smoke because of his presence in the contaminated air, hence he is a passive smoker. The study conducted by concluded following three aspects:
Asthma is found as one of the most common chronic childhood diseases that affect at least 7% of school going children.
It is difficult to diagnose the symptoms caused by passive smoking which leads to asthma among children.
Exposure to passive smoking can cause serious asthma attacks and make its symptoms more severe.
The research suggests that exposure to second hand smoke has worsen the conditions for approximately 200,000 to 1,000,000 children with asthma. This pollutant, that is, environment tobacco smoke, may also cause thousands of children without asthma to develop the condition each year (Hofhuis, Jongste, & Merkus, 2003).
Another study was to find the inverse relationship between the rate of asthma and presence of non-smokers. It was found out that these children are less exposed to smoky air and the rate of asthma is low among them. It was also concluded that among never smokers who did not even have any family member who smokes or used to smoke in the past, the rate of asthma was low.
In simple words, the conclusion for the study was that Childhood exposure to Environment Tobacco Smoke is closely related with an increased rate of asthma, even if the individuals are not…