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J Adolesc Health. 2011 Jun;48(6):647-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.09.017. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Increased tobacco exposure in older children and its effect on asthma and ear infections.

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Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.



To examine selected social determinants of children's exposure to household tobacco use and smoking inside the home and to assess the effect of second-hand smoke exposure on asthma and ear infections across children's age groups.


A total of 90,961 parents of children aged 0-17 years from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health were included in the study.


In all, 26.2% of parents reported that anyone in the household used tobacco products. Parents of children aged 6-11 and 12-17 years were 1.97 (adjusted OR; 95% CI, 1.65-2.36) and 2.93 (2.46-3.49) times more likely, respectively, to report that someone smoked inside the house than parents of younger children. Second-hand smoke exposure varied by children's race/ethnicity, and children from more disadvantaged circumstances were more likely to be exposed. For all children, they were more likely to ever have asthma if someone in their household used tobacco. Although young children's likelihood of recurrent ear infections did not increase with household tobacco use, children aged 12-17 were 1.67 (1.02-2.72) times more likely to have recurrent ear infections if someone smoked inside their home.


Family members are increasingly likely to smoke indoors as children age, which may increase adolescents' vulnerability to ear infections. Parents and health professionals should monitor second-hand smoke exposure at home and encourage a smoke-free environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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