Babies with bronchiolitis are twice as likely to need oxygen therapy and five times as likely to need the support of a ventilator if they are admitted to hospital from a home where a parent smokes, according to a study.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool found that children admitted to hospital from smoking households were more likely to be seriously effected by the condition than those from non-smoking homes, regardless of their family's socio-economic status.
The results were based on a study of children admitted to Alder Hey Children's Hospital diagnosed with bronchiolitis.
Some 25 in every 1,000 babies are admitted to hospital with bronchiolitis each winter and around 10% of these need the support of a ventilator.
Dr Calum Semple, from the Institute of Child Health, said: "This study provides the first robust evidence that the adverse health effects of smoking can be distinguished from the health effects of social deprivation."