News Update: Secondhand smoke exposure most dangerous in toddlers and obese children

December 1, 2009

Researchers have found that secondhand smoke is more harmful to toddlers and obese children than it is to other youth.

Researchers have found that secondhand smoke is more harmful to toddlers and obese children than it is to other youth.

The researchers studied black, white, and Hispanic US children, including 52 toddlers aged 2 to 5 years and 107 adolescents aged 9 to 18 years, to determine what effects secondhand smoke has on a pediatric population. They found a link between the amount of secondhand smoke exposure and a marker of vascular injury in toddlers; this link was 2 times greater in obese toddlers. Additionally, obese adolescents exposed to secondhand smoke had 2 times the evidence of vascular injury compared with their normal-weight counterparts, the researchers reported at a presentation at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions. The risk in toddlers was 4 times greater than the risk in adolescents.

The researchers stated that this study highlights the importance of eliminating secondhand smoke around children, especially those who are obese.