The children of smokers who do not show any signs of respiratory illnesses may be developing problems that lead to lung disease later in life, according to a Dutch study.
It found the children of smokers had significantly reduced lung function similar to that experienced by smokers. Researchers looked at 244 children aged four to 12 without any previous history of lung or airway disease.
The authors, fromUtrecht University in the Netherlands, said: "Everyone knows that children of smokers have more respiratory problems - more puffing, wheezing, cases of pneumonia - but until now we have not known if lung function is impaired in children of smokers who do not have any respiratory complaints or diagnosed lung problems."
The study, presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference in San Francisco, has now been expanded to include 2,000 healthy children of smokers.