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Passive smoking may lead to cardiovascular disease

By PressTV 16 May 2012

People who are exposed to even small amounts of secondhand tobacco smoke have a considerable higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems.

Exposure to low levels of secondhand smoke even for 30 minutes can cause significant damage to the lining of their blood vessels, a condition which leads to hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis, according to a report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For the new study, researchers used a smoking machine to produce particulate concentrations of tobacco smoke and measured the effects on 33 healthy nonsmoker adults ranging in age from 18 to 40 years old.

The participants were either exposed to one of three levels of secondhand smoke including clean air, lower levels of lingering smoke found in smokers' homes or a restaurant, and high levels found in highly smoky places.

The results revealed that a major blood vessel found in the upper arm, called the brachial artery, did not dilate properly in the people exposed to lingering secondhand smoke. The finding showed the inner lining of the blood vessels of highly exposed people were not working properly.

The researchers emphasized that that the negative effect might be even higher if the study repeated short exposure rather than measure a one-time interval, a condition which many none smokers face in their daily life.

“Breathing in very low levels of secondhand smoke -- the same amount many people and children would encounter out and about in the community -- appears to impair one's vascular function after just 30 minutes of exposure," said senior authors Dr. Paul Frey of the division of cardiology at San Francisco General Hospital.

"These findings have significant public health implications,” he added. “We saw a steep decline in vascular function even after a very short exposure to low levels of secondhand smoke, and that's very concerning.”



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