Passive exposure to cigarette smoke does not increase allergic sensitization in children

Dennis R. Ownby, Judith McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to learn whether children passively exposed to parental cigarette smoke would be more frequently sensitized to common allergens or would have higher concentrations of allergen-specific IgE. To evaluate this question, we studied two groups of children aged 2 to 17 years. The first group consisted of 100 children selected from a general pediatric group practice. These children were being observed for well-child care, and the only selection criteria were the need for a venous blood sample for a reason unrelated to the study. The second group of 91 patients were consecutively referred, from the same pediatric group, for allergy evaluation because of respiratory tract symptoms. Parental smoking histories were obtained, and total serum IgE, IgD, and IgE specific for cat, dog, mite, ragweed, grass, and cockroach were measured by ELISA. Children of smoking mothers had significantly greater IgD concentrations (p = 0.03) and were more likely to be referred for allergy evaluation (p = 0.0001), but these children did not have increased concentrations of total or allergen-specific IgE. Exposed children were not more likely to be serologically sensitive to any of the allergens tested. We conclude that children passively exposed to cigarette smoke do not produce more IgE to common allergens nor are they more likely to produce IgE to any particular allergen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-638
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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