Lifelong Cardiovascular Adverse Effects of Childhood Tobacco Smoke Exposure

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DOI: 10.1007/s12170-016-0508-3


Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure has a significant role in cardiovascular health outcomes, even among children. Approximately 40 % of all Americans exposed to ETS are children; those with poor socioeconomic status, black race, and younger age being disproportionately affected. Parental smoking is the strongest predictor of childhood ETS exposure. The adverse cardiovascular consequences of ETS exposure include its association with congenital heart disease, obesity, and other atherosclerosis promoting risk factors. The effects of childhood ETS exposure last long into adulthood as well. ETS can damage cell composition, is linked to increased inflammation and oxidative stress, triggers endothelial dysfunction, alters arterial distensibility and structure, and changes autonomic function. The prevailing evidence of ETS exposure and its cardiovascular consequences beginning as early as in utero and lasting into adulthood highlight the importance of eliminating ETS exposure. The purpose of this report is to illustrate the epidemiological trends and discuss the mechanisms linking childhood ETS exposure to adverse, lifelong, cardiovascular outcomes.

Journal Title

Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep




Environmental tobacco smoke; Maternal cigarette smoking; Cardiovascular disease; Children; Atherosclerosis; Sudden infant death syndrome

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