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Second-hand smoke hurts teens’ arteries

Exposed kids as young as 13 have visibly thicker arteries: study


 

According to a new report by Finnish researchers, children as young as 13 who show evidence of second-hand smoke in their blood have visibly thicker arteries, suggesting the damage from second-hand tobacco smoke starts in childhood and leads to measurable damage by adolescence. In the study, 494 children aged 8 to 13 were tested for levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine that’s in the blood after someone breathes in tobacco smoke. After the children were divided into groups with high, intermediate and low cotinine levels, researchers took ultrasounds to measure the thickness of the aorta and carotid artery. Children with the highest levels of cotinine had carotid arteries that were an average of seven per cent thicker than those with lowest levels; their aortas were eight per cent thicker. When measuring the flexibility of arteries in the arm, which helps measure blood vessel health and heart disease risk, they found it was 15 per cent lower in teens with the highest levels of cotinine. Kids with more exposure to second-hand smoke also had unhealthier levels of cholesterol. “These findings suggest that children should not face exposure to tobacco smoke at all,” lead author Dr. Katariina Kallio of the University of Turku told Reuters. “Even a little exposure to tobacco smoke may be harmful for blood vessels.”

Reuters


 
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