Risk of current asthma among adult smokers with respiratory syncytial virus illnesses in early life

Nipasiri Voraphani, Debra A. Stern, Anne L. Wright, Stefano Guerra, Wayne J. Morgan, Fernando D. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Rationale: Risk of subsequent asthma-like symptoms after early-life lower respiratory illness (LRI) caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is increased during the first decade of childhood and diminished thereafter by adolescence. Objectives: To determine the relation of early-life RSV-LRI on adult asthma-like symptoms and its interactive role with adult smoking. Methods: A total of 1,246 nonselected infants were enrolled at birth and prospectively followed. Virologically confirmed RSV-LRIs were assessed during the first 3 years of life. At age 22, 24, 26, and 29 years, current asthma and smoking behavior were evaluated by questionnaire. Peak flow variability was assessed at age 26 and expressed as amplitude % mean. A longitudinal analysis was used to investigate the relation of RSV-LRI and active smoking to adult outcomes. Measurements and Main Results: Neither RSV-LRI nor active smoking were directly associated with increased current adult asthma or peak flow variability. However, there was a significant interaction between RSV-LRI and active smoking in relation to current asthma (P for interaction = 0.004) and peak flow variability (P for interaction = 0.04). Among subjects with early RSV-LRI, those who actively smoked were 1.7 times more likely to have current asthma (95% confidence interval, 1.2-2.3; P = 0.003) and had greater amplitude % mean (10.0% vs. 6.4%; P = 0.02) than nonsmokers. Among subjects without early RSV-LRI, there was no difference in asthma risk or peak flow variability between active smokers and nonsmokers. Conclusions: Smoking is associated with increased risk of having asthma in young adults who had RSV-LRI in early life but not among subjects without these illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-398
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2014


  • Adult
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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