Passive smoking and childhood asthma. Urinary cotinine levels in children with asthma and in referents

Allergy. 1991 Jul;46(5):330-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.1991.tb00595.x.


Passive exposure to tobacco smoke was assessed in children with asthma (age 3-15) and in referents. There was statistically significantly (P less than 0.0005) higher excretion of the nicotine metabolite, cotinine, in the urine of 49 children with asthma (geometric mean 10 ng/ml) compared with 77 referents (4.8 ng/ml). Maternal smoking was statistically significantly more prevalent among the asthmatics than among the referents (relative risk = RR = 2.6, 95% C1 = 1.2-5.3). In conclusion, the exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in asthmatic children was higher than among healthy children, indicating that passive smoking may be a predisposing and/or aggravating factor for childhood asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / urine*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cotinine / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / metabolism
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine
  • Cotinine