There has been plenty of research highlighting the damaging effects of smoking while pregnant, but it seems that the harm that passive smoking does to children of all ages is just as great.


According to a new study released this week, having a parent who smoked, but tried to limit their child’s exposure to their smoking, increased that child’s risk of heart disease as an adult by almost twice that of a child whose parents are non-smokers.


For children whose parents smoked around them, and didn’t make any attempt to limit their exposure, the risk is four times higher than the children of non-smokers.


The research, published in the journal Circulation, was carried out across more than 1,500 Finnish children over the age of 20 years.


The study focused on the children’s levels of cotinine, a substance left behind in the blood after nicotine exposure.



Researchers first measured the levels between 1980 and 1983, going on to collect the same data again in 2001 and 2007 in a bid to measure the level of carotid plaque in the now adults.


Subjects who, as children, had measured in with higher cotinine levels also had higher levels of carotid plaque, as adults. A build-up of this carotid plaque can lead to heart disease.


As difficult as it may be to give up the habit, this report proves just how vital it is to ensure our children grow up in the healthiest environment possible.