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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Asthma is not Enough: Continuation of Smoking Among Parents with an Asthmatic Child

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is associated with poor asthma control in children, frequent asthma exacerbations, increased rates of hospital use and reduced rates of recovery after asthma exacerbations. Passive smoke exposure has been shown to increase airway sensitivity in asthmatic children. On diagnosis of asthma in a child, parents are educated to decrease ETS exposure to their children. The amount of smoking in the general population has decreased significantly over the past decade.

Research question: Are parents likely to stop smoking once they know their child has asthma?

In 2002-2003, the SAGE survey was sent to 12, 556 households with children born in 1995 in Manitoba. The survey focused on the health of the child and the child’s family, including whether or not a child had asthma and if smokers were present in the home in 1995 and in 2002/2003.

Findings: A total of 1151 surveys indicated that a smoker was in the home in 1995 when their child was born. In 2002/2003, the prevalence of smoking in the home had decreased from 32.2% to 23.4% and was similar for participants living in both urban and rural locations.

Just over 12% of households reported that their child had asthma in 2002/2003. Among this group, 40% had someone who smoked in 1995.

Homes with an asthmatic child were more likely to have a smoker present in 1995 and in 2002/2003. Parents of asthmatic children were less likely to quit smoking or smoke outside.

Conclusion: Parents of a child with asthma who participated in the study were not more likely to change their smoking behaviour than parents without an asthmatic child. Many parents continue to smoke in spite of having children with asthma. Parental smoking behaviour did not change if there was a positive family history of asthma, if they lived in a rural or urban location, or if they were from a low-or high-income household.  Having a child with asthma is not enough to motivate a parent to quit smoking.

Asthma is not enough: continuation of smoking among parents with an asthmatic child.Liem JJ, Kozyrskyj AL, Benoit CM, Becker AB. Can Respir J. 2007 Sep;14(6):349-53