Table 5

Mechanisms proposed for respiratory effects of passive smoking

EffectDisease outcomes affected
AcuteSensory stimulationAcute eye/nose irritation
Mucosal oedemaMiddle ear effusion
(Allergic sensitisation)
Decreased mucociliary clearanceMiddle ear effusion
Chronic cough and phlegm
Lower respiratory infection (leading to other outcomes)
Goblet cell hypertrophy or hypersecretionChronic cough and phlegm
Nasal discharge
Adenoidal hyperplasiaMiddle ear effusion
Increased risk/severity of respiratory infection (mechanism uncertain)Early LRTI
Exacerbations of asthma
Middle ear effusion
Bronchial inflammationBronchial hyperreactivity
Spirometric indices
Postnatal lung developmentSpirometric indices
Early LRTI (?esp wheezing)
?Bronchial hyperreactivity
ChronicPrenatal growth5-150 Spirometric indices
  • LRTI = lower respiratory tract infection.

  • 5-150 Due to in utero exposure to maternal smoking.