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Home Exposures to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Allergic Symptoms among Young Children in SingaporeZuraimi M.S.a · Tham K.W.a · Chew F.T.b · Ooi P.L.a, d · David K.c
aDepartment of Building, School of Design and Environment, bDepartment of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Allergy and Molecular Immunology Laboratory, Lee Hiok Kwee Functional Genomics Laboratories, and cDepartment of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, and dDisease Control Branch, Ministry of Health, Singapore, Singapore
Background: Research relating environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposures have focused on childhood asthma. There have been fewer studies with conflicting results performed on associations of ETS exposures with allergic symptoms. We are interested to see if ETS exposures in the homes are associated with allergic symptoms among preschool children in Singapore where public smoking is banned. Methods: A cross-sectional study adopting an expanded and modified ISAAC (International Study on Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) questionnaire for the evaluation of asthma and allergies was conducted on 6,794 children attending 120 randomly selected child care centers. Specific information on demographics and ETS exposures was obtained. Adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined using Poisson multivariate regression with a log-link function and robust variance estimates as recommended for cross-sectional studies. Results: The response proportion was 70.0%, and 4,759 children from 97 centers participated. After adjusting for covariates, it was found that home ETS exposure was associated with increased risks of current symptoms of rhinitis (PR 1.23; 95% CI 1.01–1.50) and rhinoconjunctivitis (PR 1.79; 95% CI 1.26–2.54). These associations followed dose-response trends with respect to number of cigarettes smoked or smokers in the homes. Home ETS exposures were also associated with higher PRs of wheeze, nocturnal cough and doctor-diagnosed asthma. Compared with paternal smoking, higher risks of the above outcomes were found for maternal smoking. Conclusion: Home ETS exposure is a risk factor associated with rhinitis and asthma among preschool children.
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