Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health claim that children regularly exposed to tobacco smoke at home are more likely to develop early emphysema in adulthood. The findings, published in the December 2009 American Journal of Epidemiology, suggest that the lungs may not recover completely from the effects of early-life exposures to tobacco smoke (ETS), the research team says.
The researchers studied CT scans of 1,781 non-smokers without clinical cardiovascular disease recruited from six communities in the United States, including northern Manhattan and the Bronx, New York. Those reporting childhood ETS exposure were somewhat younger, with an average age of 61; were more likely to be non- Hispanic white; and less likely to have been born outside the United States. These differences were statistically controlled in the analyses.
"We were able to detect a difference on CT scans between the lungs of participants who lived with a smoker as a child and those who did not," observed Gina Lovasi, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. "Some known harmful effects of tobacco smoke are short term, and this new research suggests that effects of tobacco smoke on the lungs may also persist for decades."
Previous studies have found evidence that childhood ETS exposure affects perinatal and childhood health outcomes, and that adult exposure may affect adult respiratory health outcomes, including lung function and respiratory symptoms.
This population-based study, however, is the first to examine the association of childhood ETS with early emphysema by CT scan in nonsmokers. Approximately half of the participants had at least one regular cigarette smoker in their childhood home. Participants with more childhood ETS exposure had more emphysema-like lung pixels; an average of 20% of scan pixels were emphysema-like for those who lived with two or more smokers as a child, compared with 18% for those who lived with one regular smoker, or 17% for those who said that they did not live with a regular inside smoker as a child.
Although childhood ETS was not associated with adult lung function in this healthy population, this does not contradict the results for early emphysema, since airflow obstruction and anatomic damage are theoretically and clinically distinguishable. "However, emphysema may
be a more sensitive measure of damage compared with lung function in this relatively healthy cohort," Dr. Lovasi notes. Combined emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are projected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.
The exposure information in this study does not provide information on the timing of ETS exposure during childhood, making it difficult to distinguish as exposure in utero. "The association between childhood ETS and early emphysema among participants whose mothers did not smoke, suggests that the effect we are detecting is for smoke exposure in the home during childhood rather than in utero exposure alone," observed Dr. Lovasi.
Citation: Gina S. Lovasi, Ana V. Diez Roux, Eric A. Hoffman, Steven M. Kawut, David R. Jacobs, Jr, R. Graham Barr, 'Association of Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Childhood With Early Emphysema in Adulthood Among Nonsmokers', American Journal of Epidemiology 2010 171(1):54-62; doi:10.1093/aje/kwp358
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- A Dimuon Particle At 30 GeV In ALEPH ??
- Journalists - Please Fact Check Your "Doomsday" News Stories -They Terrify Young Children And Vulnerable People
- DDoS war: How zombie fridges bit the internet in the a$$ today.
- President Obama, Why Humans On Mars Right Now Are Bad For Science
- A Racist On The Jews: Let The Donald Trump!
- Biofuels Are A Climate Mistake
- Another Stone On The Diphotonium Grave
- "The only people who are in for a shock are the people who believe in it, when nothing happens...."
- "Oh, okay, you need to understand a bit about how solar systems form. It starts with a condensing..."
- "Are we gonna be in for a shock with this nibiru planet mr walker also if you had the chance to..."
- "The thing that gets me mr walker is planets can collide so why all of a sudden is this now impossible..."
- "Oh, I saw that comment thanks. I didn't see any point in replying. They gave no reasons, didn't..."
- Placebo: Bubbles Of Nothing Are Still Not Something
- People Who Take Drugs May Be Likelier to Commit Suicide
- Improved 'Screen Time' Guidelines Could Make Parents & Kids Happier
- Dr. Jamie Wells Named One Of America's Top Pediatricians
- Why Did EPA Delay Its Glyphosate Safety Report?
- Scientists Should Fight Postmodern Public Values