This study links higher levels of exposure to ETS to increased levels of hospitalization for asthma attacks.
A recent widely circulated newspaper “editorial” expressed the opinion that banning smoking in public places was not fair to smokers. Somehow this person had the belief that environmental tobacco smoke was not harmful and that smokers had the right to smoke in public places if they chose to do so. The point is this “right” infringes on the health of others and it is perfectly consistent to protect the public from an unnecessary health hazard. But the question is – Is it a health hazard?
Here is another study indicating that it is – at least for those with asthma. This study published in the Journal Thorax (2005;60:814-821) was based on a group of 778 non-smoking adults hospitalized for asthma. By measuring nicotine exposure ( using a nicotine badge) and cotinine levels from hair samples, exposure to second-hand smoke was determined. Higher levels of second-hand smoke exposure correlated with increased levels of hospitalization for asthma. Patients with higher levels of exposure to passive smoking have more severe asthma and are at a higher risk of hospitalization. This study is particularly interesting since it focuses on adults – not children. The study certainly supports the efforts to prohibit smoking in public places.