Research presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2012 annual meeting revealed cigarette smoke adversely affects the developing human airway, especially in prematurity. Fetuses and premature babies exposed to cigarette smoke are at greater risk for developing childhood respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
"Due to their highly immature lungs, premature babies often require high levels of additional oxygen in the neonatal intensive care unit, which can put these babies at higher risk for life-long problems with lung diseases," said study author Elizabeth Vogel, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
Additional exposure to second-hand smoke in the home often precipitates further respiratory problems and possible return trip(s) to the ICU.
"By examining human fetal airway cells from gestational ages during which rapid airway and lung growth would normally occur, we hope to understand how the developing airway is particularly susceptible to cigarette smoke with the goal of developing interventions to prevent downstream problems such as asthma and bronchopulmonary dysplasia," said Dr. Vogel.
Source: Mayo Clinic