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Mother's smoking and complex lung function of offspring in middle age: A cohort study from childhood


Perret, JL and Walters, H and Johns, D and Gurrin, L and Burgess, J and Lowe, A and Thompson, B and Markos, J and Morrison, S and Thomas, P and McDonald, C and Wood-Baker, R and Hopper, J and Svanes, C and Giles, G and Abramson, M and Matheson, M and Dharmage, S, Mother's smoking and complex lung function of offspring in middle age: A cohort study from childhood, Respirology, 21, (5) pp. 911-9. ISSN 1323-7799 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology

DOI: doi:10.1111/resp.12750


Background and objective: Existing evidence that supports maternal smoking to be a potential risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for adult offspring has barely been mentioned in major guideline documents, suggesting a need for more robust and consistent data. We aimed to examine whether such early life exposure can predispose to COPD in middle age, possibly through its interaction with personal smoking.

Methods: The fifth-decade follow-up of the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study cohort, which was first studied in 1968 (n = 8583), included a 2004 postal survey (n =  5729 responses) and subsequent laboratory attendance (n = 1389) for comprehensive lung function testing between 2006 and 2008. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models included sampling weights.

Results: Post-bronchodilator airflow obstruction (less than fifth percentile) was detected for 9.3% (n =  123) of middle-aged offspring. Its association with heavy maternal smoking (> 20 cigarettes/day) during childhood was 2.7-fold higher than for those without exposure (95% confidence interval [1.3, 5.7] P = 0.009). Maternal smoking per se approximately doubled the adverse effect of personal smoking on gas transfer factor (z-score −0.46 [−0.6 to −0.3] vs −0.25 [−0.4 to −0.1], P[interaction] = 0.048) and was paradoxically associated with reduced residual volumes for non-smokers.

Conclusions: Heavy maternal smoking during childhood appears to predispose to spirometrically defined COPD. The interplay between maternal and personal smoking on gas transfer factor suggests that early life exposure increases an individual's susceptibility to adult smoking exposure. These findings provide further evidence to suggest that maternal smoking might be a risk factor for COPD and reinforce the public health message advocating smoking abstinence.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adult offspring, airflow obstruction, gas transfer factor, interaction, maternal smoking
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Walters, H (Professor Haydn Walters)
UTAS Author:Johns, D (Associate Professor David Johns)
UTAS Author:Wood-Baker, R (Professor Richard Wood-Baker)
ID Code:111213
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-09-05
Last Modified:2018-03-07

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