Newswise — ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Need another reason to keep your New Year’s resolution to stop smoking? A first-of-its-kind study found adults with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease were more than three times as likely to have been exposed to second-hand smoke during childhood as those without the condition. Study results are published in the January 2012 issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

“More than half of U.S. children are exposed to second-hand smoke, and this study adds to the evidence that it is a health threat,” said lead author and ACAAI member Jinny Chang, MD. “Second-hand smoke exposure during childhood has been linked to a variety of diseases, including heart disease and cancer, and this study shows it also is associated with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease.”

About 10 percent of people with asthma and a third of asthmatics with chronic sinus inflammation have aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease, or AERD. Although they may have been able to take aspirin previously, most are now unable to take it without suffering an asthma attack or other respiratory symptoms.

The study included a total of 520 people: 260 patients who had asthma and AERD and their spouses, who did not have asthma or AERD. In the study, compared to those without AERD, those with the condition were more than three times as likely to have been exposed to second hand tobacco smoke as children and were five times as likely to have been exposed during childhood and adulthood. Smokers were more than one and a half times more likely to have AERD than those who never smoked.

“There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” said co-author and ACAAI member Donald Stevenson, MD. “Smokers need to realize that they are putting their children and spouses at risk of serious health problems, including asthma associated with AERD.”

Consumers can take a relief-self test to gauge their asthma symptoms, obtain a personalized plan on how to get relief and find an allergist at About ACAAIThe ACAAI is a professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000 allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research.

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Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology