New Telegraph

Secondhand smoke sends more kids to hospitals

Researchers in the United States (U.S.) said children who are exposed to tobacco have higher rates of hospital admissions. These are the results of a new study currently available online, but set to be published in October in the journal ‘Paediatric Research’. The study by University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers, also found that tobacco smoke exposure also increased the risk of paediatric patients having respiratory-related procedures performed while in the emergency department. The research compared 380 children exposed to tobacco smoke with 1,140 children not exposed, matching the children in regards to age, sex, race and ethnicity.

The ‘Medical Xpress’ reported that children exposed to tobacco smoke were 24 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital than unexposed children, an indication that possible tobacco smoke exposure may contribute to related illness severity. Study lead, Ashley Merianos, said:”We know that exposure to secondhand smoke is related to substantial morbidity in children. In addition to exposed children having more health care visits, I was really interested in taking a closer look at the actual resource utilisation during their visits.

“For example, I looked at whether children who are exposed to tobacco smoke are more likely to have more infectious diagnostic, lab and radiologic tests during their emergency visit than children who are unexposed.” Merianos is an associate professor in UC’s School of Human Services. Of children in both groups with asthma, kids exposed to tobacco smoke were 27 times more likely to receive steroids during their emergency department visit and over 15 times more likely to receive albuterol, a bronchodilator used to treat asthma at tacks.

In addition, children exposed to tobacco smoke were also at increased odds of having laboratory tests (5.72 times ordered), and radiologic tests (4.73 times), as well as various infectious diagnostic tests (2.68 times). Furthermore, children who were one or younger had the highest levels of exposure to tobacco smoke, likely due to their inability to leave environments in which tobacco is being smoked, explained Merianos.

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