Should physicians caring for children try to stop parents from smoking? While most pediatricians believe we should discourage smoking in teen-agers, are we concerned that parental smoking may cause lung disease in our young patients? Several recent important studies indicate that the smoking habits of parents can indeed cause damage to the lungs of their children. First, impressive statistical data show that serious, life-threatening respiratory disease in infancy, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis, is directly related to the smoking habits of the parents. Second, the smoking pattern of parents during the early years of a child's life produces changes that may contribute to the later development of chronic respiratory disease. Or, the modern translation of Exodus 34 should read, "The sin of the smoking parent is passed onto the children."
Investigators in Israel studied 10,672 infants who were admitted to the hospital during the first year of life and