Study Shows that Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Increases Readmission among Children with Asthma

A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, raises the possibility that measurement of tobacco exposure could be used in clinical practice to target smoking cessation efforts and reduce the likelihood of future hospitalizations. The study is part of the Greater Cincinnati Asthma Risks Study, which seeks to understand the causes of hospital readmission, particularly for low income and minority children. The researchers studied children between the ages of 1 and 16 admitted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital between August 2010 and October 2011. Serum and salivary cotinine levels were taken during their hospital stay, and their primary caregivers were asked about tobacco exposure. All children were followed for at least 12 months to see if they were readmitted to the hospital. Researchers concluded that “Detectable serum and salivary cotinine levels were common among children admitted for asthma and were associated with readmission, whereas caregiver report of tobacco exposure was not.” The abstract is available online.