Send to

Choose Destination
Prev Med. 2013 Aug;57(2):125-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.05.003. Epub 2013 May 20.

Secondhand smoke and asthma: what are the effects on healthcare utilization among children?

Author information

The Ohio State University College of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, Columbus, OH, USA.



This study aims to examine the associations between asthma, secondhand smoke exposure and healthcare utilization in a nationally representative sample of children.


Data from 5686 children aged 0-11 years were analyzed. Healthcare utilization, asthma diagnosis and demographic information came from the 2001 and 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. Secondhand smoke exposure was measured during the 2000 and 2005 National Health Interview Surveys. Multivariable regression models were used to determine the association between secondhand smoke exposure, asthma diagnosis and healthcare utilization (hospitalizations, emergency department visits, outpatient visits and prescription medication use).


Asthma modified the relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and hospitalizations, as exposure more than doubled the odds of hospitalization among children with asthma but had no effect on children without asthma. Secondhand smoke exposure increased the odds by 37% of emergency room visits (P<0.001), but was not associated with outpatient visits or medication use. Children with asthma had a higher odds of utilizing all healthcare services (P<0.001).


Secondhand smoke exposure was associated with a greater utilization of hospitals and emergency departments, and the effect on hospitalizations was most pronounced among children with asthma. Reducing secondhand smoke exposure would help to reduce the burden on the healthcare system, especially among children with asthma.


Asthma; Health care services; Secondhand smoke

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center