Children exposed to the secondhand smoke of their parents may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease as adults, according to new research.
Researchers tracked participants in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, which included childhood exposure to parental smoking in 1980 and 1983. They collected carotid ultrasound data in adulthood in 2001 and 2007.
In 2014, researchers measured participant’s childhood blood cotinine levels from samples collected and frozen in 1980. Cotinine is a biomarker of passive smoke exposure.
The percent of children with non-detectable cotinine levels were highest among households where neither parent smoked (84 percent), decreased in households where one parent smoked (62 percent) and were lowest among households where both parents smoked (43 percent).