Exposure to tobacco smoke has been associated with harmful effects on child health. The association between tobacco smoke exposure and childhood rhinitis has not been established in developed or developing countries. We investigated the association between serum cotinine levels and rhinitis in a population sample of 1,315 Asian children. Serum cotinine levels were positively associated with rhinitis ever (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.95; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.15-7.60) and current rhinitis (AOR = 2.71; 95% CI: 1.07-6.89), while the association for physician-diagnosed rhinitis approaching borderline significance (AOR = 2.26; 95% CI: 0.88-5.83). Stratified analyses demonstrated significant association of serum cotinine levels with current rhinitis among children without allergic sensitization (AOR = 6.76; 95% CI: 1.21-37.74), but not among those with allergic sensitization. Serum cotinine levels were positively associated with rhinitis ever (AOR = 3.34; 95% CI: 1.05-10.61) and current rhinitis (AOR = 4.23; 95% CI: 1.28-13.97) among adolescents but not in children aged less than 10 years. This population-based study demonstrates supportive evidence for positive association of tobacco smoke exposure with rhinitis, while the effect is mainly confined to non-allergic rhinitis and more pronounced in adolescents than in young children, highlighting the need for raising public health awareness about the detrimental effects of tobacco smoke exposure on children's respiratory health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas