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Childhood ETS may lead to emphysema

October 09, 2017

Although childhood ETS was not associated with adult lung function in this healthy population, this does not contradict the results for early emphysema, since airflow obstruction and anatomic damage are theoretically and clinically distinguishable. "However, emphysema may be a more sensitive measure of damage compared with lung function in this relatively healthy cohort,"

Dr. Lovasi notes. Combined emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are projected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.

The exposure information in this study does not provide information on the timing of ETS exposure during childhood, making it difficult to distinguish as exposure in utero. "The association between childhood ETS and early emphysema among participants whose mothers did not smoke, suggests that the effect we are detecting is for smoke exposure in the home during childhood rather than in utero exposure alone," observed Dr. Lovasi.

Source: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health