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Do Parental Smoking Habits Differ in Children with Asthma/Wheezing Disorders?

Maria Avgeri, Katerina Haidopoulou, Nikos Raikos, Adamantios Krokos, Orthodoxia Mastrogianni, Eirini Pagkalidou, Maria Hatzistilianou and Maria Eboriadou

Objective: Second-hand smoke exposure in children is a recognized risk factor for asthma/wheezing. Even brief exposure can be harmful. Adult smoking prevalence in Greece is of the highest worldwide and pediatric asthma rates are raising. Our objective was to investigate parental smoking habits in homes of children with and without bronchial asthma/wheezing disorders. Methods: This is a case-control study that included 90 children aged 1, 5-17 years old subdivided into two groups: 51 children with asthma/wheezing and 39 healthy peers. SHS exposure was estimated by both questionnaires on smoking habits reported by parents and urinary nicotine and cotinine levels in children. Results: Based on both questionnaires and urinary biomarkers, smoking habits between two groups were not significant (p=0.291). Urinary cotinine assays unveild more children to be exposed to SHS (98% in cases and 89.4% in controls) than reported by their parents (62.75% in cases and 66.6% in controls). More cases were heavier exposed to SHS than controls (>10 ng/ml). Home smoking restrictions between two groups didn’t reach statistical significance though they were found to affect urinary cotinine levels in children. Conclusions: Parental smoking habits do not differ between families of children with and without asthma/ wheezing disorders. Parents, especially those nurturing a child with respiratory tract disease, tend to underreport SHS exposure.