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Strumylaite, Loreta; Kregzdyte, Rima

The Sixteenth Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE): Abstracts

Institute for Biomedical Research Kaunas University of Medicine


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Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) has been shown to be a risk factor for respiratory diseases in children. Some authors reported reduced lung function of children exposed to ETS. In spite of that data are not consistent. The purpose of our study was to assess an effect of ETS on respiratory health of children.

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A cross-sectional survey carried out in 594 children (356 boys and 238 girls) aged 6-7 years from 20 kindergartens located in a city. Questionnaire of International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood (ISAAC) filled out by parents was used. Exposure to ETS was determined by an answer “everyday” or “sometimes” to the question “How often is your child in surrounding where someone smokes?”. The parameters of respiratory function (FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC, FEF25-75, PEF) were measured with Pony Graphics 3.5. Response rate was 58.6% to 69.2% depending on a kindergarten.

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More than two fifth of children were exposed to ETS at home. Cough that lasted for at least four weeks during the past year was experienced by 24.5% and 16.9% of children with and without exposure to ETS (p<0.05). Wheeze in the past was found in 43% and 27% of children in groups compared (p<0.05), wheeze during the past year was more prevalent in girls exposed to ETS (18.8% vs. 7.6%, p<0.05). There was a significant difference in prevalence of sneezing or a runny/blocked nose when a child did not have a cold between children with and without exposure to ETS (46.6% and 36.6%, p<0.05). FEF25-75 and PEF of exposed girls were significantly lower than that of girls not exposed to ETS. Multiple regression analysis that included variables such as ETS, family history of allergy, smoked mother during pregnancy, gas stove and pets at child’s room showed that in girls FEF25-50 were related to ETS; in boys FEF25 and PEF were related to mother’s smoking during pregnancy and in both girls and boys FEF25-75 and PEF were related to gas used for cooking.

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Our data show that some respiratory symptoms are related to ETS in children. The data of other studies are not consistent, mainly because of multifactorial causation of respiratory diseases, indirect measurement of exposure to ETS and etc. The test of respiratory function shows that ETS affects respiratory health of children, especially girls, and decreases the parameters representing small airways.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.