Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


3 questions may provide good clues to smoke exposure


Every day, in thousands of busy pediatric medical offices, doctors and nurses routinely use a variety of questions to determine which of their young patients are at risk for exposure to second-hand smoke in their homes.

But these don’t always provide a clear enough picture of a young child’s environment. Questions can be ambiguous or misunderstood by the child’s caregiver, or the caregiver may be consciously or unconsciously less than accurate with their answers.

A report, however, in the May 2 issue of JAMA’s Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine says that three significant but simple questions can provide an accurate prediction of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure.

Asking a child’s primary caregiver – usually the mother -- the seemingly straightforward yes/no question “Do you smoke?” does not capture all of the information health care professionals need to gauge risk to the child, according to Judith A. Groner, a clinical professor in the department of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.

The study was conducted at Columbus Children’s Hospital where 291 mothers or primary caregivers, both self-reported smokers (120) and nonsmokers (171), completed questionnaires that provided answers on demographics and smoking habits. If applicable, the surveys also indicated the location (inside/outside) where smoking occurred, the smoking status of other household members or visitors to the home, and the location in the home where their smoking occurred.

In addition, researchers collected hair samples from 291 children, age 3 or younger, whose primary caregiver completed the survey. The hair samples were used to determine the amount of cotinine in the child’s body. Cotinine is a chemical transformed in the body from nicotine, which enters the body through inhaled cigarette smoke. Hair cotinine has been used in research to determine child ETS exposure, but the test is expensive and not widely available.

By comparing the questionnaire information to the analysis of hair cotinine levels, it was possible to develop a three-question model that determines the child’s ETS exposure risk category. “Many patients state that they smoke outdoors and/or smoke only a few cigarettes per day. We found that parental report of these factors did not impact on the child’s actual exposure as measured by hair cotinine,” said Groner, who is on the medical staff at Columbus Children’s Hospital.

“Our interpretation of this finding is that parents tell pediatricians what they perceive is the ‘socially desirable’ response – that they are not heavy smokers and that they do not expose their children.”

Although further research is needed and the study can be expanded, Groner says data from the study can be a helpful tool for health care practitioners assessing ETS risk in children younger than 3 years of age, the period most pediatricians acknowledge that children are most vulnerable.

In addition to asking “Do you smoke?” the study says following up with “Do others who live or frequently visit with you smoke?” and “Do they smoke indoors?” can provide added insight into the child’s environment.

The risk to children living in an environment with smokers is well documented. Tobacco smoke exposure is linked to an increased incidence of ear infections, pneumonia, asthma and other upper respiratory infections in children.

Additional authors are Robert Castile and Stacy Hoshaw-Woodward of The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health and Columbus Children’s Hospital, and Julia Klein and Gideon Korean of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

The study was funded by the American Lung Association and Columbus Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

David Crawford | EurekAlert!
Further information:

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>