Studies: Smoking linked to reduced allergic sensitization

New Zealand Parental smoking during childhood and personal cigarette smoking in teenage and early adult life lowers the risk for allergic sensitization in those with a family history of atopy, according to the results of a study from New Zealand.

Smoking linked to reduced allergic sensitization

21 January 2008
By David Holmes

Allergy Clin Immunol 2008; 121: 38-42MedWire News: Parental smoking during childhood and personal cigarette smoking in teenage and early adult life lowers the risk for allergic sensitization in those with a family history of atopy, according to the results of a study from New Zealand.

Writing in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Robert Hancox (University of Otago, Dunedin) and colleagues explain that “the findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the immune-suppressant effects of cigarette smoke protect against atopy.”

Avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke is often recommended to reduce the risk for allergic sensitization, particularly for children with a family history of atopic disease, the authors explain. But evidence for an effect of smoking on allergic sensitization is mixed.

Hancox and colleagues investigated the effect of passive smoking in childhood and active smoking in adolescence and adulthood on allergic sensitization in 972 participants in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, in which a prospective longitudinal population-based birth cohort was followed-up to age 32 years.

The authors obtained histories of parental atopic disease and smoking, and monitored personal smoking at multiple assessments between birth and age 32 years. Atopy was assessed by skin-prick tests (SPTs) for 11 common inhaled allergens at ages 13 and 32 years.

The team found that the children of atopic parents were less likely to have positive SPTs at 13 years if either parent smoked (odds ratio [OR]= 0.55), although the significance of the association was lost after adjusting for confounders.

Participants with atopic parents were also less likely to have positive SPTs between ages 13 and 32 years if they smoked themselves (OR=0.18), and this reduction in risk remained significant after adjusting for confounders.

The authors write: “We found that children who were exposed to parental smoking and those who took up cigarette smoking themselves had a lower incidence of atopy to a range of common inhaled allergens.

“These associations were found only in those with a parental history of asthma or hay fever.”

They conclude: “The harmful effects of cigarette smoke are well known, and there are many reasons to avoid it.

“Our findings suggest that preventing allergic sensitization is not one of them.”


RE:? Smoking linked to reduced allergic sensitization
By David Holmes
21 January 2008
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“Participants with atopic parents were also less likely to have positive SPTs between ages 13 and 32 years if they smoked themselves (OR=0.18), and this reduction in risk remained significant after adjusting for confounders.”
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We’ve always known that the “establishment” tries to downplay or ignore any medical findings that disagree with the Holy Writ Of The Antismoking Church, but the presentation of this study below takes things to entirely new levels.??
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In 1998 the WHO came out with one of the largest case-control international studies that had ever been done on secondary smoke exposure and lung cancer.? Their results were so “disappointing” that instead of one of the classic “Science By Press Release” hooplas given recent Helena/HeartAttack type studies, the news about the WHO’s study came out only after a British reporter dug the information out of a hole and publicized it.? The WHO’s study found NO significant link between smoke exposure and lung cancer in adults, and actually found a significant NEGATIVE association for children exposed to smoke: they got 22% LESS lung cancer than those who had not been exposed!
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Even after the newspapers made the results of the WHO study public, the authors and sponsors of the study scrambled to hide the true findings:? The WHO put out a press release headlined in big bold print, ” ???? ” and the authors themselves wrote an Abstract (which is all that most news reporters generally read and report on) that summarized their findings as simply showing “no association” between childhood exposure and lung cancer despite the fact that the inverse association was clearly the ONLY clear finding of the entire study!
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Fast forward to 2008:? Once again we see a study that somehow manages to get published despite showing “unfavorable” results in the Antismoking World; but this time the results are so extreme that it’s truly impossible to fuzz them over with a “no association” claim.??
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Instead, the most significant of the results is buried near the end of the news: “Participants with atopic parents were also less likely to have positive SPTs between ages 13 and 32 years if they smoked themselves (OR=0.18), and this reduction in risk remained significant after adjusting for confounders.”
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An OR=.18 is not only significant, it is BLINDINGLY significant: it literally shows that smokers have something on the order of a FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT reduction in allergies compared to nonsmokers!? Compare this to the hugely headlined claims by antismoking organizations that smoke exposure results in a 19% or so increase in the comparatively very rare condition of lung cancer that they’ve cobbled together as an argument favoring smoking bans: a 19% increase in a condition affecting less than one percent of the population as opposed to a 500% reduction in a condition affecting 20% or more of the population.
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Granted, lung cancer is a far more serious condition than allergic sensitization but, quite aside from quality of life considerations of a disease that strikes most of its victims only after age 65 as opposed to one that often manifests from childhood throughout the rest of life, there’s a MASSIVE statistical incidence difference. The lung cancer increase, if it exists at all, would theoretically affect about 1 person in a thousand (a 19% increase over the baseline of 1 in 200 nonsmokers who get lung cancer) of heavily exposed people (remember: the EPA figures are based almost entirely upon the extremely heavy exposure conditions of the heavy smoking and poorly ventilated home/work conditions of the 1940s through 1970s) as opposed to allergy reductions in 80% of the 20% of the population that is allergic: about 1 person in six.
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Out of a thousand exposed people, the antismoking EPA type figures would predict 1 extra lung cancer striking someone at around 70 years of age… assuming of course that those thousand folks were exposed to the heavy smoking and poor ventilation conditions of the middle of the last century, and also assuming that it was valid for the EPA to juggle the normal “scientific significance” figures from the standard 95% down to 90%.
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Compare this to the present study where out of a thousand exposed people at today’s levels of exposure there would be 166 people who might have their entire lives be rendered free of allergies except for the fact that smoking was banned around them.
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Lung cancer is far more serious than an occasional sniffle.? But when one looks at the overall lifetime quality of life, takes into account the juggling that was done to produce even the very low EPA claimed effect, takes further into account that allergies are often far more than “an occasional sniffle”, and finally looks at the ratio of 166 people being affected as opposed to a single person…
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… it might make sense to call parents who DON’T smoke around their children “child abusers”.? Of course if one decides to believe the World Health Organization rather than the fanatic-driven and heavily criticized EPA findings the story gets even worse: the nonsmoking parents who promote smoking bans might also be increasing their children’s chances of lung cancer by 20% *after* a lifetime of suffering allergic attacks!
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(NOTE: while I believe the interrelation of the figures above accurately reflect the findings of the various studies, I have not yet had the opportunity to review them closely enough to be certain I haven’t made any analytical errors.? If anyone spots one, please let me know!)
Michael J. McFadden
Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”
Mid-Atlantic Director, Citizens Freedom Alliance, Inc.
Director, Pennsylvania Smokers’ Action Network (PASAN)
web page: http://pasan.thetruthisalie.com/
mailto: Cantiloper@aol.com

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