Passive Smoking Perilous for Children

  Date: September 1, 2000

CHILDREN exposed to years of passive smoking are at a "significantly higher" risk of suffering a heart attack than youngsters with non-smoking parents, doctors warned yesterday.

New research shows that exposure to cigarette smoke breaks down the body's natural blood clot-busting ability, leading to potentially fatal heart problems. Clots around the heart are the main cause of coronary attacks.

The latest study monitored 64 teenagers over 10 years -- half with parents who smoked, half living in non-smoking households.

The researchers found that exposure to cigarette smoke not only reduced the body's ability to beat blood clots but also increased the risk of them developing.

Every year in the UK 17,000 children under five need hospital treatment for breathing problems caused by passive smoking.

"A smoke-free environment in the home, public buildings and workplace should be the goal of society," said the researchers from Greece, at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Amsterdam. Clive Bates, head of anti-smoking campaign group ASH, said parents who smoke around their children were "scarring them for life."


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