This study was undertaken to examine the prevalence of bronchitis (cough with phlegm) symptoms in teenagers who either smoked cigarettes on a regular basis (active smokers) or were non-smokers but who are exposed to passive smoking (passive smokers) in the home. The study was undertaken in 1995 and repeated in 1998. The 1995 study was a cross sectional questionnaire survey of smoking habits in secondary school children aged 13-14 years and was undertaken as part of the ISAAC questionnaire survey. Thirty representative and randomly selected schools from throughout the Republic of Ireland took part in the study. In the 1995 study, 3066 students completed a questionnaire on their current smoking habits and symptoms of cough and phlegm. We found that 634 (20.7%) of these young teenagers actively smoked cigarettes with significantly more females smoking than males with 23.3% of girls compared to 17.6% boys (p = 0.0001). We found that 46.3% of non-smoking children were exposed to smoking in the home (passive smokers) with parental smoking accounting for most of the passive smoking. Bronchitis symptoms were more commonly reported in active smokers compared to non-smokers with an odds ratio of 3.02 (95% CI 2.34-3.88) (p < 0.0001) or in passive smokers compared to those not exposed to smoking with odds ratio of 1.82 (95% CI 1.32-2.52) (p < 0.0001). The 1998 study showed similar results for smoking habits, passive smoking and prevalence of bronchitis symptoms as with the 1995 study. These results document that increased bronchitis symptoms occur in teenagers exposed to active or passive smoking.