Background: Exposure to cigarette smoke is causing health problems, its components are known to possess carcinogenic, mutagenic, cytotoxic or irritant properties. Prevalence of smoking in pregnant women is between 17% and 35% worldwide. Passive smoking is identified as a factor with negative impact on health, and children are especially vulnerable. Children raised in families with smokers have a higher incidence of respiratory infections, recurrent wheezing, bronchitis, nocturnal cough and asthma. The aim of this study was determination of sensitization to various allergens in children exposed to cigarette smoke compared with children not exposed to cigarette smoke.
Material and method: One-hundred eighty children treated in Pediatric Clinic 1 of Tîrgu Mureș were included in the study between 2008- 2011. The patients were divided into two groups: 50 children exposed to cigarette smoke and 130 children not exposed. Measurement of lung function was performed in children over 4 years using a spirometer. Serum specific IgE was analyzed to inhalatory and food allergens. Wheezing phenotype was determined in children younger than 4 years and exposure to cigarette smoke was evaluated based on parents' responses to questionnaires.
Results: There was a significantly greater likelihood of developing sensitivity in children exposed to tobacco smoke than in those not exposed to dermatophagoides pteronissimus, dermatophagoides farinae, milk and grass pollen.
Conclusions: During early childhood both pre- and postnatal tobacco smoke exposure has an adjuvant effect on allergic sensitization inhalatory and food allergens.