A recent study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulati shows that children who are constantly around smokers and are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to develop dangerous carotid plaque later in adulthood.
Researchers of the study looked for children who grew up in smoking households by using data gathered from Finnish children between 1980 and 1983 and noted the amount of cotinine -- a biomarker for exposure to tobacco smoke -- in their blood samples. Researchers correlated the examinations of the carotid artery of the same kids, now fully grown, between 2001 and 2007.
In the study spanning 26 years, results showed that compared to kids of nonsmokers, kids who were exposed to secondhand smoke were almost two times (1.7 times) more likely to have carotid artery plaque as adults. Carotid artery plaque clogs the heart vessels and can lead to stroke.
These findings add to the list of ill effects – like respiratory and developmental health – of secondhand smoke to children. It can also have a long-term impact on cardiovascular health, said senior author Costan G. Magnussen of Menzies Research Institute Tasmania in Australia.
“What we were able to do that others have not, is show that parents who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking can still limit the impact of their smoking on their child’s future cardiovascular health by changing their smoking behavior to limit the amount of smoke their child is exposed to,” Magnussen told Reuters.
Sources: March 24, 2015. "Kids exposure to secondhand smoke tied to clogged arteries". gmanetwork.com March 24, 2015. "If Either of Your Parents Smoked, Go and Get Your Heart Checked Out". time.com