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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1996 May;76(5):427-30.

Fetal exposure to involuntary maternal smoking and childhood respiratory disease.

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Department of Research, Hurley Medical Center, Flint, Michigan, USA.



Several studies have now gone beyond the effects of smoking during pregnancy to examine the effects of involuntary maternal smoke exposure on fetal development. A link has also been indicated between postnatal environmental smoke exposure and long-term respiratory problems in infants.


Our study examines whether an association exists between maternal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and childhood respiratory disorders.


A cross-sectional design was implemented utilizing a maternal questionnaire survey. The surveys were distributed throughout the county's health department and outlying clinic immunization sites. The county population is a diverse community of all racial and socioeconomic levels and includes a metropolitan population of approximately 300,000. The questionnaire comprised inquiries about the child's wheeze, acute respiratory illnesses, and maternal and paternal exposure to passive smoke and/or other environmental air pollutants.


Chi-square and logistic regression analysis showed no statistically significant difference between passively smoke-exposed-in-utero subjects and non-smoke-exposed in-utero subjects on the outcomes of allergy and wheeze. Asthma, however, did show a statistically significant association to passive smoke exposure (chi2 = 12.4, P = .05 and Log reg = 8.7, P = .03).


Passive maternal exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy is associated with increased incidence of asthma and supports other research findings that children born of mothers who are passively exposed to smoke during pregnancy are at risk for patterns of negative developmental outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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