Passive smoking may double risk of atherosclerosis

The University of Tasmania researchers say the impact on cardiovascular health from childhood passive smoking in adulthood is “significant”.

Their new findings add to the growing body of evidence showing these harms are not just confined to respiratory illnesses, they said.

The study, led by senior researcher at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Dr Costan Magnussen, tracked nearly 2500 participants in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, which included childhood exposure to parental smoking in 1980 and 1983.

Researchers collected carotid ultrasound data in adulthood in 2001 and 2007. Childhood serum cotinine levels — a marker of passive smoke exposure — were collected and frozen in 1980 and measured in 2014.

The number of children with non-detectable cotinine levels were highest among households where neither parent smoked (84%), decreased in households where one parent smoked (62%) and were