Objectives: We sought to determine the effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and childhood cigarette smoking on asthma symptoms among middle school children in North Carolina.
Methods: During 1999-2000, information was collected from a survey completed by the children. Outcomes of asthma symptom reporting were regressed on tobacco smoke exposures.
Results: Children who currently smoked or reported any exposure to ETS were at increased risk of reporting active asthma symptoms. Exposure to ETS and childhood cigarette smoking was responsible for 15% of the asthma cases observed in the study population and $1.34 million in excess medical expenditures.
Conclusions: Even at low levels of exposure, childhood cigarette smoking and ETS are independently associated with asthmatic symptoms.