Passive smoking increases the risk of asthma over several generations

SimpleImages/Getty Images Detail of a man holding a smoking cigarette in his hand.

SimpleImages/Getty Images

Passive smoking in the father increases the risk of asthma in the child.

TOBACCO – The link between asthma and tobacco becomes clearer. According to a study published Thursday, September 15 in the European Respiratory Journal, tobacco could have a new “transgenerational effect”. If the father of a child was exposed to passive smoking during his childhood, his offspring will have a greater chance of developing asthma. Of course, the risk increases if the father is himself a smoker.

To draw these conclusions, which are only hypotheses at this stage of research, Australian, British and Sri Lankan researchers based themselves on the analysis of the health of 1,689 pairs made up of a father and his child. They have ” found that the risk of non-allergic asthma in children increases by 59% if their father was exposed to passive smoking during childhood, compared to children whose father was not exposed. » The risk of seeing the child develop asthma will also be higher if the father is himself a smoker, namely 72%.

When they are passively exposed to tobacco smoke from their parents before the age of 15, their offspring have an increased risk of non-allergic childhood asthma, but not allergic asthma,” add the scientists – allergic asthma being triggered by an allergenic element.

A transgenerational risk

This transmission would be spread over several generations. “Our results show how the harm caused by smoking can impact not only smokers, but also their children and grandchildren” abounds Dr. Dinh Bui, one of the co-authors of the study.

To explain this phenomenon, the scientist thinks that exposure to cigarette smoke “may lead to epigenetic changes in germ cells in children. These are the cells that will produce sperm. » These cells develop until puberty, a period when they are particularly vulnerable. Later, any changes will be passed on to the child and “may harm the boy’s health, including increasing the risk of developing asthma. »

According to the British newspaper The GuardianJon Foster, the head of health policy at Asthma + Lung UK, believes the research “truly shocking, as it shows that the negative effects of smoking can last for generations. (…) It shows the enormous impact of smoking on the health of others. »

See also on the HuffPost:

Leave a Comment