Smoking In Front Of Your Kids May Increase Their Risk Of Heart Disease As Adults

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A man smokes a cigarette
A man smokes a cigarette. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

A new study found that children exposed to their parents’ smoking are at a higher risk of developing a heart disease in adulthood compared with those children not exposed to the habit. The American Cancer Society states that passive smoking is extremely harmful which confirms past research stating that children exposed to smoking from parents are prone to cardiovascular problems.

The researchers used a previous study, ‘Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study,’ which analysed childhood exposure to smoking from 1980 to 1983. The patients were tracked in the present research and their carotid ultrasound data were collected in 2001 and 2007. The subjects grew up to become adults during this time frame. In 2014, researchers took the blood cotinine levels from samples stored since 1980. The press release states that the Cotinine is a biomarker of passive smoke exposure.

It was found that those with the highest cotinine levels in childhood were those who belonged to homes where both parents smoked and their home condition placed them at two times a higher risk at developing cardiovascular problems. This was compared to those whose parents did not smoke. The release also informed that the kids from homes where no one smokes and only one parent smoked had 62 percent cotinine levels and non detectable cotinine levels, respectively.

Costan Magnusses, Ph.D., the lead author and a senior research fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania in Australia, stated that it could not be concluded whether the detectable blood cotinine levels were dependent on the parents' smoking habits. It could be due to exposure from others as well. Since a child’s primary source of exposure is at home, however, the research takes the parents into account.

Magnussen states that it is best for parents to quit smoking as it would reduce the long term risk for their children.

The study is published in the American Heart Association journal.

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