Passive smoking or second-hand smoking is when non-smokers are exposed to an environment of tobacco smoke. The health risks associated with passive smoking have led to several smoke-free laws like prohibition of smoking in public places and open spaces. But a major concern which has not been addressed yet is when children are subjected to such an environment at home. This latest research adds to the growing evidence that passive smoking can have a lasting effect on your child’s health.
According to a study, published in the Journal Circulation, children who are subjected to second-hand smoking at home are at a higher risk of developing heart disease in adulthood. "For parents who are trying to quit smoking, they may be able to reduce some of the potential long-term risk for their children by actively reducing their children's exposure to secondhand smoke," said study lead author Costan Magnussen from Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania in Australia.
(Secondhand Smoking Can Make You Fat: Study) For the study, researchers tracked participants in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, which included childhood exposure to parental smoking in 1980 and 1983. They collected carotid ultrasound data in adulthood in 2001 and 2007. In 2014, they measured every participant's childhood blood cotinine levels from samples collected and frozen in 1980. Cotinine is a biomarker of passive smoke exposure.The percent of children with non-detectable cotinine levels were highest among households where neither parent smoked (84 percent), decreased in households where one parent smoked (62 percent) and were lowest among households where both parents smoked (43 percent). Regardless of other factors, the risk of developing carotid plaque in adulthood was almost two times higher in children exposed to one or two parental smokers compared to children of parents who did not smoke. They noted that kids exposed to parental smoking were more likely to develop plaque in their carotid arteries as young adults.
(Can the World Go Tobacco-Free by 2040?)
Previous studies have shown that passive smoking may be as bad as smoking itself and it can lead to same health risks like cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and respiratory problems.