Studies have been conducted that link secondhand smoke exposure to respiratory ailments, such as asthma or allergic rhinitis, in children. Curiously, an association between secondhand smoke exposure and non-respiratory concerns also exists.
Most recently, scientists from Sweden recently presented research at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s 2017 Annual Meeting in early March that suggests secondhand smoke exposure may be linked to food allergies.
Researchers say that the association is strongest when exposure occurs during the first few months of life and seems to have an effect on egg and peanut allergies in particular.
Anna Bergström, who presented the findings at the AAAAI Annual Meeting, says, “Our research suggests that it does have an impact on the odds of children developing IgE-associated symptoms to certain foods.”
The Swedish study backs up a correlation found in a 2014 study conducted by Jurgita Saulyte and colleagues in Spain and the U.S. in which “passive smoking was associated with an increased risk for food allergies” among children, and additional food allergy and secondhand smoke studies that we have previously discussed on the blog.
Although these findings may make a few food allergy parents retroactively kick themselves, try not to put the blame entirely on your old smoking habit: food allergies are a complicated condition with myriad possible causes, and the correlation found in these studies is preliminary.
Still, if you have a new baby on the way, kicking the habit once and for all couldn’t hurt.