BALTIMORE—Tobacco smoke exposure is a risk factor for increased demand for pediatric medical care, and health professionals should target messages regarding the dangers of households where children are exposed to tobacco smoke, according to data presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.
“Our findings indicate that tobacco smoke exposure has a significant impact on demand for health care services,” Ashley L. Merianos, PhD, of the School of Human Services at the University of Cincinnati, said in a press release. “Settings with a high volume of children exposed to tobacco smoke at home, including pediatric EDs, could serve as effective outlets for health messages to inform caregivers about the dangers of smoking around children and help decrease these potentially preventable tobacco smoke exposure-related visits and associated costs.”
Merianos and colleagues evaluated data from the 2011 to 2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, which included a sample of 95,677 children from across the United States. To examine associations and estimate odds ratios, they used multiple logistic regression that accounted for potential cofounders.
According to the researchers, 24.1% of the sample lived with smokers, which corresponds to a weighted total of 17.6 million children throughout the country. In addition, approximately 5%, representing a weighted total of 3.6 million children, had tobacco smoke exposure inside their home. Those who lived with a smoker were significantly more likely to have had any medical care visit, such as sick care, check-ups or physical exams (OR = 1.218). They were also more likely to seek sick care or health advice at a pediatric ED (OR = 1.233). However, they were less likely to have had any dental care visit, including check-ups, X-rays or fillings in the past year (OR = 0.809).
The researchers noted similar results among children exposed to tobacco smoke in their home regarding medical care visits (OR = 1.348), seeking sick care at a pediatric ED (OR = 1.394), and dental care (OR = 0.768). – by Jason Laday
Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine could not confirm relevant financial disclosures.
Merianos AL, et al. Tobacco smoke exposure and health care utilization among children nationwide. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting; April 30 to May 3, 2016; Baltimore.