Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

Child/Adolescent Health

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Smoking in the home leads to more emergency visits and hospitalizations for lung problems among young children

Smoking inside the home may more than double the risk of a young child having an emergency department (ED) visit and more than triple their risk of hospitalization for respiratory conditions, finds a new study. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality investigators Lan Liang, Ph.D., and Stephen C. Hill, Ph.D., examined health care use, expenditures, and bed days among 2,759 children up to age 4 from the 1999 and 2001 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. They then linked these data to reports of smoking inside the home from the National Health Interview Survey.

Indoor smoking increased by 5 percent the probability of ED visits for respiratory conditions and the probability of hospitalization for these conditions by 3 percent. Indoor smoking was also associated with an 8 percent increase in the probability that a child would be laid up in bed because of respiratory illness. Similarly, among children visiting the ED for respiratory problems, roughly 18 percent may have had at least one visit related to smoking inside the home. Also, among children with at least one hospital stay for respiratory problems, roughly 36 percent may have had at least one stay related to smoking inside the home.

Indoor smoking was also costly. It was associated with $117 in additional health care expenditures for each child exposed to indoor smoking. Extrapolating this figure to the U.S. population, smoking inside the home adds roughly $415 million to annual health care expenditures for young children. There were no significant effects of living with adult smokers who smoked outside the home.

More details are in "Smoking in the home and children's health," by Drs. Hill and Liang, in the February 2008 Tobacco Control 17, pp. 32-37.

Reprints (AHRQ Publication No. 08-R050) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Return to Contents
Proceed to Next Article


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care