The health consequences of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) among children have been the subject of intense scientific and public health concern. This is a cross-sectional study to determine the association of exposure to parental passive smoking to changes in pulmonary function.
578 students aged 9-12 y/o from the University of Santo Tomas Elementary school were given questionnaires to assess ETS exposure. 309 students who had acceptable spirograms based on the American Thoracic Society (ATS) guidelines were included in the analysis. The Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second (FEV1), Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), FEV1/FVC ratio, Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) and Forced Expiratory Flow at 25%-75% (FEF25-75) were the pulmonary function parameters measured.
Forty five percent of the students who submitted the questionnaire had exposure to passive smoking; 5.5%, 23.6% and 33.7% were exposed to maternal, paternal and other sources of ETS in the home respectively. Majority of the parents smoked 1-5 cigarette sticks per day. The decrease in the pulmonary function parameters of these students was not statistically significant. However a statistically significant decrease in FEV1 (p<0.049), FVC (p<0.026) and PEF (p<0.038) was evident among children exposed to maternal smoking.
Forty five percent of the students 9-12 years of age at the University of Santo Tomas Elementary school are exposed to passive smoking. Maternal smoking is associated with statistically significant deficits in FEV1, FVC and PEF.
ETS is a serious health burden for children. Every effort should be made to reduce their exposure to passive smoking to give them a chance to grow up in a healthier environment.
M.P. Santos, None.