Teenage girls may be
more vulnerable to the adverse effects of secondhand smoke when compared to
boys of the same age, shows study.
Secondhand smoke or SHS is also referred as
environmental tobacco smoke or ETS. Secondhand smoke consists of two forms of
smoke obtained from the burning of tobacco:
- the smoke that is
exhaled by the smoking person
- smoke arising from
the ignited end of cigarette or cigar
Secondhand smoke or
passive smoke is not only hazardous for the smokers but also for non-smokers.
Recently a research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &
Metabolism (JCEM), has highlighted an important fact that passive exposure to
harmful cigarette smoke is highly dangerous for teenage girls as compared to
The scientists at the
University of Australia have analyzed 1,057 non-smoker teenagers who were born
between 1989 and 1992. The blood samples of all the male and female teens were
collected and were chemically analyzed for the levels of 'good' cholesterol or high
density cholesterol (HDL).
HDL or good
cholesterol is beneficial for us as it removes surplus cholesterol from the
blood circulation while LDL or bad cholesterol enhances the deposition of
cholesterol in the blood vessels. The experts also collected information about
smoking in the teens 'households beginning before they were born, when their
mothers were 18 weeks into their pregnancies'.
The experts noted that
about 40 percent of teenagers who were exposed to secondhand smoke were at the
threat of developing health hazards.
The cholesterol levels
of the participants were compared with the cholesterol levels of those
teenagers who were exposed to secondhand smoke. It was found that the teenage
girls dwelling in homes where people smoked showed low levels of HDL or 'good'
Dr. Chi Le-Ha, of the
University of Western Australia and the lead author of the study mentioned, "In
our study, we found 17-year-old girls raised in households where passive
smoking occurred were more likely to experience declines in HDL cholesterol
Dr. Le-ha further
said, "Secondhand smoke did not have the same impact on teenage boys of
the same age, which suggests passive smoking exposure may be more harmful to
girls. Considering cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in
women in the Western world, this is a serious concern." The study findings
suggested that exposure to secondhand smoke poses a greater threat for teenage
girls as compared to teenage boys.
Dr. Le Ha firmly said,
"We need to redouble public health efforts to reduce young children's
secondhand smoke exposure in the home, particularly girls' exposure."
According to scientists secondhand smoke can increase the threat of high blood
pressure in infants and can adversely affect individual's genes. SHS can even
The scientists said that further research was
required to identify why secondhand smoke has different roles in teenage girls
compared to teenage boys.