It’s never nice breathing in a lungful of someone’s cigarette smoke. Now a new study has confirmed that kids who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of dying from lung disease in later life.
The American Cancer Society study, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, found children who inhale secondhand smoke have an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) death as adults.
Not only that, but it also revealed exposure to secondhand smoke as an adult is not only linked to a greater risk of death from COPD, but also a whole host of other health conditions.
What do these findings mean?
"This is the first study to identify an association between childhood exposure to secondhand smoke and death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in middle age and beyond," said lead author Ryan Diver.
"The results also suggest that adult secondhand smoke exposure increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease death. Overall, our findings provide further evidence for reducing secondhand smoke exposure throughout life.
How was the discovery made?
The in-depth study took 70,900 men and women who had never smoked. They recorded their exposure to secondhand smoke as children and adults, and were then assessed by a team of epidemiologists for 22 years.
Incredibly, those who lived with a smoker when they were kids had 31% higher mortality from COPD, compared to people who hadn’t lived with a smoker.
There was also data to suggest living with a smoker contributes to non-fatal COPD in later life.
People exposed to secondhand smoke as an adult had a 9% higher risk of mortality, a 27% higher risk of dying from heart disease, a 23% increased chance of dying from stroke, and a staggering 42% higher risk of dying from COPD.