News & Comment

Passive smoking "may" raise boys' blood pressure ... and lower girls'

Sat 5th February, 2011

Boys exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke in the home may experience significant levels of raised blood pressure, research suggests.

But the new study also found that in girls, passive smoking appeared to be associated with a lowering of blood pressure.

The findings were presented yesterday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. 

Researchers analysed data from four health surveys conducted between 1999 and 2006 by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Blood pressure of children living with a smoker was increased by 1.6mm of mercury in boys, but lowered by 1.8mm in girls.

"While the increases in blood pressure observed among boys in our study may not be clinically meaningful for an individual child, they have large implications for populations," said Dr Baumgartner.

"The relationship between second-hand smoke exposure and blood pressure observed in our study provides further incentives for governments to support smoking bans and other legislation that protect children from second-hand smoke."

Simon Clark, of smokers' lobby group Forest, said: "This sounds like yet more scaremongering designed to stigmatise adults who smoke at home.

"By their own admission, the result of the study is not clinically meaningful for an individual child, so I don't understand how it supports smoking bans and further legislation."

Source: Scotsman (May 2, 2011)
See also: Guardian (May 2, 2011)

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