Kids exposed to smoke more likely to have clogged arteries
A 26-year long study has found that children who grew up in households with smoking were more likely to develop plaque in their arteries as young adults than children who were not exposed to secondhand smoke.
Researchers collected over 1,000 blood samples from children ages 3 to 18 in 1980, along with parental reports of smoking status in 1980 and 1983 from a larger group of kids. The blood samples were frozen. They also had ultrasounds of the adult children in 2001 and 2007. From the frozen blood samples, they tested levels of cotinine, a byproduct of cigarette smoke exposure, and from the adult ultrasounds, looked for a buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries (two large blood vessels of the neck), which can eventually cause narrowing of the arteries, increasing blood clot and stroke risk.
They found that two percent of the grown-up kids had carotid plaque by an average age of 36. Over 84 percent of people who grew up in non-smoking households had no cotinine in their blood, compared to 62 percent with one smoking parent, and 43 percent when both parents smoked.
These findings suggest that parents should be extremely conscientiousness of smoke exposure to their child, as plaque buildup can begin fairly early and cause a slew of health problems.