Smoking parents may up kids’ risk of lung disease related deaths

New York: Are you a chain smoker? Besides harming your own life, you may also be exposing your kids to second-hand smoke, which can increase their risk of death due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adulthood, researchers have warned.

The study found that those who have lived with a regular smoker throughout their childhood have 31 per cent higher mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

While second-hand smoke exposure (10 or more hours/week) as an adult was associated with a 9 per cent higher risk of all-cause mortality, a 27 per cent higher risk of death from ischemic heart disease, a 23 per cent higher risk of death from stroke, and a 42 per cent higher risk of death from COPD.

Second-hand smoke is known to have diverse effects on the lung and vascular systems in both children and adults.

“This is the first study to identify an association between childhood exposure to second-hand smoke and death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in middle age and beyond,” said W. Ryan Diver, epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in the US.

“The results also suggest that adult second-hand smoke exposure increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease death. Overall, our findings provide further evidence for reducing second-hand smoke exposure throughout life,” he added.

For the study, the team included 70,900 never-smoking men and women aged 50-74 years who were followed for 22 years.

The increase in COPD mortality corresponds to about seven additional deaths per year per 100,000 never-smoking participants, Diver said.

Although the study counted only deaths, the increase in fatal COPD implies that living with a smoker during childhood could also increase the risk of non-fatal COPD, the researchers said.