Passive smoking, as measured by hair nicotine, and severity of acute lower respiratory illnesses among children
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Department of Public health, Wellington School of Medicine, Wellington, New Zealand
Department of Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine, Wellington, New Zealand
Submission date: 2001-11-02
Acceptance date: 2002-02-20
Publication date: 2002-03-15
Corresponding author
WK Al-Delaimy
Department of Public health, Wellington School of Medicine, Wellington, New Zealand
Tobacco Induced Diseases 2002;1(March):27
The aim of this study was to describe the association between passive smoking and the severity of acute lower respiratory illnesses (ALRI) among 351 children aged 3-27 months admitted to hospital. A total of 297 children provided hair samples, which were analysed for hair nicotine levels as an indicator of passive smoking. A severity of illness grading system was developed by using clinical and management criteria used by the medical staff at hospital. The OR for children with more severe illness being exposed to higher nicotine levels was 1.2, 95% CI: 0.57-2.58 when using dichotomised respiratory severity levels and upper versus lower nicotine quartile levels. In an ordinal logistic regression model, the OR of more severe illness being associated with higher nicotine levels was 1.07 (95% CI: 0.92-1.25). When analysis was limited to the more severe cases, the OR of the least severe category compared to the most severe category, in relation to nicotine levels in hair, was 1.79 (95% CI: 0.5-6.30). The ordinal logistic regression of this group of severely-ill children (OR 1.1 (95% CI: 0.94-1.29) was not substantially different from the overall study subjects. Conclusion: In general, children with more severe illness tended to have higher levels of nicotine in their hair, although the results were within the limit of chance. Possible explanations of our results include environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) being an initiator of ALRI rather than a risk to severity, exposure levels of ETS were too low to demonstrate an effect on severity, or the power of this study was not high enough to detect an association.
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