Background: Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a frequent exposure and is linked to asthma among inner-city children.
Objective: We sought to examine the relationship among ETS exposure, select asthma symptoms, and consequences among inner-city children with asthma.
Methods: Data from interviews with primary caregivers of inner-city elementary school children with asthma were evaluated (n = 590). Caregiver reports of child asthma symptoms, exercise limitations, asthma management, health care use, and ETS exposure were examined.
Results: Smoking in the home was reported by 29.4% of primary caregivers. ETS exposure (yes/no) was not related to frequency of child nocturnal symptoms or other select asthma morbidity markers. However, among children exposed to ETS, the frequency and severity of child nocturnal symptoms were highest among children exposed to moderate-to-heavy levels of ETS. After controlling for child age, anti-inflammatory medication use, asthma primary care, and caregiver's education, exposure to higher levels of ETS was associated with nearly a 3-fold increase in nocturnal symptoms in children (odds ratio, 2.83; 95% CI, 1.22-6.55).
Conclusion: Among elementary school inner-city children with asthma, exposure to higher levels of ETS was associated with increased frequency of nocturnal symptoms. Reducing the exposure of children with asthma to ETS should be a clear priority in developing effective asthma management plans for inner-city families.