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J R Soc Health. 1995 Feb;115(1):13-6.

Passive smoking in childhood.

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Dept of Thoracic Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, London.


There is increasing interest in the effects of adult smoking on the health of infants and children. Although passive smoking is important in many childhood disorders, most attention has been paid to its effects on the respiratory tract and on infant mortality. Several studies have reported an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory illness in infants of mothers who had smoked during pregnancy. Post-natal exposure to passive smoking has been found responsible for an increased risk of acute respiratory illness morbidity and an increased occurrence of chronic respiratory symptoms. Maternal cigarette smoking aggravates asthma symptoms and bronchial responsiveness in children with an established diagnosis of the disease, and the possibility that passive smoking has a causal role in the aetiology of asthma is currently a matter of growing interest. In addition, several studies have shown small but significant reductions in lung function values of children exposed to passive smoking.

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