Parents May Underreport Smoking
By Katerina Pesheva
Hopkins Children's Center study has found that the
parents and caregivers of children
with asthma often underestimate and underreport how much
they smoke at home and around their
children, giving pediatricians a skewed idea about their
patients' exposure to secondhand smoke.
Because self-reporting inaccurately gauges exposure,
pediatricians should use more reliable
measures such as obtaining urine samples from children to
check for secondhand smoke inhalation,
In a study of 81 children with persistent asthma who
lived with a smoker, researchers found
wide discrepancies between objective tests and parental
reports. In addition, nearly one-third of
parents and caregivers reported smoking in the car in the
child's presence, a red flag that exposure to
secondhand smoke occurs outside the home.
"We want pediatricians caring for children with asthma
to keep in mind that a child's symptoms
could be brought on by secondhand smoke," said lead
investigator Arlene Butz.
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