DeBilderling, G., Chauhan, A.J., Jeffs, J.A., Withers, N., Johnston, S.L., Holgate, S.T. and Clough, J.B.
Gas cooking and smoking habits and the risk of childhood and adolescent wheeze
American Journal of Epidemiology, 162, (6), .
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The authors investigated the risk of wheezing illnesses in relation to contemporaneous pollutant exposures (gas cooking, heating, and smoking) in childhood and adolescence in a cohort of 2,289 United Kingdom subjects. Data from two questionnaires assessing wheezing at ages 7–8 and 15–17 years and one questionnaire on current and past pollutant exposures at age 16–18 years were studied (1987–1996). The 1,868 subjects returning all three questionnaires were divided into three groups representing childhood (10.5%), adolescent (10.9%), and persistent (i.e., both; 16.3%) wheezing and compared with 1,165 controls (62.4%) without wheezing. The estimated risks of childhood wheezing were increased by exposure to any gas in childhood (odds ratio (OR) = 1.47, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.05, 2.04) and exposure to a gas hob in childhood (OR = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.13, 2.16) and were increased further in those persistently exposed. Risk of persistent wheezing in adolescence was paradoxically reduced by exposure to a gas hob (OR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.50, 0.91), possibly because of selection avoidance. Contemporaneous exposure to combined smoking by both parents was associated with wheezing in all groups (odds ratios ranged from 1.62 (95% CI: 1.06, 2.46) to 1.93 (95% CI: 1.10, 3.38)). Maternal smoking alone was associated with persistent wheezing and with both childhood (OR = 1.90, 95% CI: 1.06, 3.39) and persistent (OR = 2.18, 95% CI: 1.15, 4.14) wheezing if smoking occurred throughout childhood and adolescence. The authors conclude that exposures to gas cooking and smoking in childhood and adolescence increase the overall risk of wheezing.
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