Exposure to Parental Smoking in Childhood is Associated with Increased Risk of Carotid Atherosclerotic Plaque in Adulthood: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study
Background—The association between passive smoking exposure in childhood and adverse cardiovascular health in adulthood is not well understood. Using a 26-year follow-up study, we examined if childhood exposure to passive smoking was associated with carotid atherosclerotic plaque in young adults.
Methods and Results—Participants were from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study (N=2,448). Information on childhood exposure to parental smoking was collected in 1980 and 1983. Carotid ultrasound data was collected in adulthood in 2001 or 2007. Childhood serum cotinine levels from 1980 were measured from frozen samples in 2014 (N=1,578). The proportion of children with non-detectable cotinine levels was highest among households where neither parent smoked (84%), decreased in households where one parent smoked (62%), and was lowest among households where both parents smoked (43%). Irrespective of adjustment for potential confounding and mediating variables, the relative risk (RR) of developing carotid plaque in adulthood increased among those where one or both parents smoked (RR=1.7, 95%CI=1.0-2.8, P=0.04). Although children whose parents exercised good "smoking hygiene" (smoking parents whose children had non-detectable cotinine levels) had increased risk of carotid plaque compared with non-smoking parents (RR=1.6, 95%CI=0.6-4.0, P=0.34), children of smoking parents with poor smoking hygiene (smoking parents whose children had detectable serum cotinine levels) had substantially increased risk of plaque as adults (RR=4.0, 95%CI=1.7-9.8, P=0.002).
Conclusions—Children of parents that smoke have increased risk of developing carotid atherosclerotic plaque in adulthood. However, parents who exercise good smoking hygiene can lessen their child's risk of developing plaque.
- Carotid artery plaque
- Passive smoking
- carotid artery
- risk factor
- Received September 27, 2014.
- Revision received January 12, 2015.
- Accepted January 26, 2015.