Parents’ Smoking Can Hurt Kids’ Heart Health
Your cigarette habit may do more than compromise your lungs: It might put your children at risk for future heart problems. For almost three decades, researchers followed nearly 3,800 people who were between 3 and 18 years old at the start of the study to see if there was a link between whether their parents smoked and the thickness of participants’ arteries in adulthood. Participants who were exposed to cigarette smoke from both parents had significantly thicker (less healthy) carotid artery walls than those who grew up in nonsmoking homes. The difference in vascular health for people with two smoking parents was the equivalent of being 3.3 years older than the children of nonsmokers. The findings are significant because thickening of the arteries is an early sign of heart disease, which puts people at risk for heart attacks and strokes.
Source: European Heart Journal, published online March 4, 2014