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Smoking during pregnancy linked to asthma

June 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, June 1 (UPI) -- African-American and Latino children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy had an elevated risk of acute asthma symptoms in as teens, U.S. researchers say.

First author Sam S. Oh, a postdoctoral scholar in epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco, Center for Tobacco Research and Education, and colleagues analyzed nearly 2,500 Latino and African-American children with asthma.

The researchers found children ages 8-17 with acute asthma symptoms were far more likely than others to have been born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy -- even when the team controlled for elements such as education, socioeconomic level and childhood exposure to tobacco smoke.

"If women smoked while pregnant, their children had about a 50 percent increase in uncontrolled asthma, even when we controlled for current tobacco exposure," Oh said in a statement. "Kids who are 17 years old still show the effects of something they were exposed to during the first nine months of life."

The findings were significant because a greater proportion of women from ethnic minorities smoke throughout their pregnancies.

The findings were published online ahead of the print edition of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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