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Secondhand smoke exposure linked to signs of heart disease
Date:3/7/2013

SAN FRANCISCO (March 7, 2013) Nonsmokers, beware. It seems the more you are exposed to secondhand tobacco smokewhether it was during your childhood or as an adult, at work or at homethe more likely you are to develop early signs of heart disease, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Session.

Researchers found that 26 percent of people exposed to varying levels of secondhand smoke had signs of coronary artery calcification (CAC), compared to 18.5 percent in the general population. The new data also shows that people who report higher levels of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure also have the greatest evidence of coronary artery calcification, a build-up of calcium in the artery walls as seen on a low-dose computed tomography scan. While previous studies have shown a marked increase in cardiac events related to secondhand tobacco smoke, authors say this study is the first to demonstrate a clear dose-response relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and the earliest detectable signs of heart disease.

"This research provides additional evidence that secondhand smoke is harmful and may be even more dangerous than we previously thought," said Harvey Hecht, MD, associate director of cardiac imaging and professor of medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center and study author. "We actually found the risk of secondhand smoke exposure to be an equivalent or stronger risk factor [for CAC] than other well-established ones such as high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. Passive exposure to smoke seems to independently predict both the likelihood and extent of CAC."

After adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors, people classified as having low, moderate or high secondhand smoke exposure were 50, 60 and 90 percent more likely to have evidence of coronary artery calcification than those who reported minimal exposure. The apparent health effects of secondhand smoke on CAC re
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Contact: Beth Casteel
bcasteel@acc.org
240-328-4549
American College of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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