Maternal smoking increases risk of allergic sensitization and wheezing only in children with allergic predisposition: longitudinal analysis from birth to 10 years.Allergy. 2009 Mar; 64(3):445-51.A
The role of passive smoking for allergies and asthma in children above the age of 3 years remains unclear and possible interactive effects with parental allergies have not been formally evaluated in long-term studies. To examine the interaction of passive smoking and an allergic predisposition regarding allergic sensitization, allergic airway symptoms and respiratory infections during the first 10 years of life.
In a prospective multicenter birth cohort study with 1314 recruited children in Germany, we assessed serum immunoglobulin E against common allergens at seven time points, and parental smoking and respiratory symptoms annually by using questionnaires. Longitudinal analyses were performed using generalized estimating equation models (stratified by parental allergy status).
During the first 10 years, 18% of the children were exposed to regular maternal smoking since pregnancy, 43% to irregular maternal or only paternal smoking. Among children with two allergic parents, a mother who smoked regularly significantly increased the odds for allergic sensitization (adjusted OR 4.8, 95% CI 1.3-18.2) and wheezing (adjusted OR 5.7, 95% CI 1.7-19.0) in her child compared with children who were never exposed. For those with only one allergic parent, the odds were doubled and also statistically significant, whereas in children without allergic parents maternal smoking had no effects. There was no association of maternal smoking with allergic rhinitis or respiratory infections.
Our results suggest that regular maternal smoking is a strong risk factor for allergic sensitization and asthma symptoms during the first 10 years of life, but only in children with allergic parents.