To estimate the frequency of secondhand smoke exposure among patients with asthma.
A cross-sectional study of asthma patients and non-asthmatic controls using questionnaires to identify secondhand smoke exposure at home, school, work, and public places.
We studied 544 severe asthma patients, 452 mild/moderate asthma patients, and 454 non-asthmatic patients. Among severe patients, the mean age was 51.9 years, 444 (81.6%) were female, 74 (13.6%) were living with a smoker, 383 (71.9%) reported exposure in public spaces and, of the 242 (44.5%) who worked/ studied, 46 (19.1%) reported occupational exposure. Among those with mild/moderate asthma, the mean age was 36.8 years, 351 (77.7%) were female, 50 (11.1%) reported living with a smoker, 381 (84.9%) reported exposure in public settings and, of the 330 (73.0%) who worked/ studied, 58 (17.7%) reported occupational exposure. An association between secondhand smoke exposure and disease control was found among patients with mild/moderate asthma. Among those interviewed, 71% of severe asthma patients and 63% of mild/moderate asthma patients avoided certain places due to fear of secondhand smoke exposure.
Secondhand smoke exposure is a situation frequently reported by a significant proportion of asthma patients. Individuals with asthma are exposed to this agent, which can hamper disease control, exacerbate symptoms and pose unacceptable limitations to their right to come and go in public settings.