Passive smoking and risk of pulmonary tuberculosis in children immediately following infection. A case-control study

Tuber Lung Dis. 1996 Dec;77(6):537-44. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8479(96)90052-0.


Setting: Passive smoking-related respiratory disorders in children.

Objectives: To assess the effect of passive smoking on the development of active pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in children immediately following infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis within the family.

Design: An unmatched case-control study in which 93 contacts who became cases (active PTB diagnosed) and 95 contacts who did not became cases (tuberculin-positive children without evidence of active disease) were included. All were household contacts of a new case of pulmonary bacillary tuberculosis. Smoking habits were investigated by a questionnaire. Urinary cotinine was analysed. Odds Ratio (OR) was adjusted for age and socio-economic status using multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results: Passive smoking was a risk factor for PTB (OR: 5.29; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.33-12.82; P < 0.00005). The adjusted OR was 5.39 (95% CI: 2.44-11.91; P < 0.00001). The risk increased when contacts were passive smokers both at home and outside the home within the family (OR: 6.35; 95% CI: 3.20, 12.72; P < 0.00001). Contacts 0-4 and 5-9 years old showed a significantly higher risk than those aged > or = 10. There was a dose-response relationship between the risk of developing active PTB immediately following infection and the number of cigarettes smoked daily by the household adults (P < 0.001). Mean (SD) urinary continine detectable concentrations (ng/ml) were different between disease contacts (119.46 [68.61]) and non diseased contacts (91.87 [73.10]). The difference was statistically significant (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Passive exposure to tobacco smoke in children was associated with an increased risk of developing pulmonary tuberculosis immediately following infection. This is an association of great concern requiring health education programmes and antitobacco medical advice.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cotinine / urine
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / etiology*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Cotinine