Postnatal maternal smoking increases the prevalence of asthma but not of bronchial hyperresponsiveness or atopy in their children

Chest. 1995 Feb;107(2):389-94. doi: 10.1378/chest.107.2.389.


We have compared the prevalence of asthma, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), and atopy in relation to parental smoking in children aged 7 to 13 years. Information on the presence of asthma was obtained from a questionnaire, BHR was assessed by a methacholine challenge test, and atopy was defined as a positive response to a skin prick test. A complete history of the parents' smoking habits during their children's life, including prenatal smoking habits, was recorded. The prevalence of maternal smoking increased from 37.9% during pregnancy to 45.3% at the cross-sectional survey. None of the outcomes was significantly related to paternal smoking, whereas postnatal maternal smoking was positively associated with asthma (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 6.1). A negative association between prenatal maternal smoking and atopy was found (OR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.3 to 0.9). We found no significant association between BHR and parental smoking. Our results indicate that postnatal maternal smoking increases the prevalence of asthma in the offspring without inducing BHR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / etiology*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology*
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Mothers*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Skin Tests
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Methacholine Chloride