Secondhand smoke (secondhand smoking), which is also called passive smoking or environmental tobacco smoke occurs when people involuntarily inhale cigarette smoke.
Secondhand smoking was found to lower the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) among girls. The liver is able to break down high-density lipoproteins (HDL) that's carried in the blood stream, in contrast low-density lipoproteins blocks the blood vessels, making it difficult to break down. HDL cholesterol is an important factor in reducing the risk of heart disease.
The study's lead author, Chi Le-Ha, MD, of the University of Western Australia, said:
"In our study, we found 17-year-old girls raised in households where passive smoking occurred were more likely to experience declines in HDL cholesterol levels. Secondhand smoke did not have the same impact on teenage boys of the same age, which suggests passive smoking exposure may be more harmful to girls. Considering cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women in the western world, this is a serious concern."
The researchers analyzed a total of 1,057 Australian teenagers born between 1989 and 1992. They identified whether the teens were exposed to secondhand smoke from their 18th week of gestation to the age of 17.
Nearly half (48 percent) of the teenagers had been exposed to secondhand smoke at home. The researchers then tested their cholesterol levels.
According to Le-Ha: "The findings indicate childhood passive smoke exposure may be a more significant cardiovascular risk factor for women than men. We need to redouble public health efforts to reduce young children's secondhand smoke exposure in the home, particularly girls' exposure."
Secondhand smoke can cause a host of illnessesThe health effects of secondhand smoking are well established and the medical community is well aware of the negative outcomes associated with it. In fact, the US Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, issued a strong condemnation of secondhand smoke, saying that it is not just a nuisance, but that science has clearly shown that it is a serious health hazard. It is known to be a cause lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and a host of other illnesses.
British researchers showed an association between secondhand smoke and more psychological distress among children in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Written by Joseph Nordqvist