Kids who are exposed to their parents' smoking may have a higher risk of developing heart disease in adulthood than those whose parents didn't smoke, indicates a new study.
According to a recent study, the percent of children with non-detectable cotinine levels were highest among households where neither parent smoked (84%). It was less in households where one parent smoked (62%) and were lowest among households where both parents smoked (43%). Cotinine is a bio-marker of passive smoke exposure.
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. Further, risk was elevated whether parents seemed to limit their children's exposure.
Costan Magnussen, lead author of the study and senior research fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Australia, said that although they could not confirm whether children with a detectable blood cotinine in their study was a result of passive smoke exposure directly from their parents. But they knew that a child's primary source of passive smoke exposure occurs at home.
Researchers stressed that to provide the best long-term cardiovascular health for their offspring, parents should not smoke. However, 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.
The study is published in Circulation
, a journal of the American Heart Association.