Living with a smoker after age 20 is linked with a 15 per cent higher risk of developing high blood pressure, warn researchers, adding that avoiding smoky environments can lower the risk of hypertension.
Passive smoking at home or work place was associated with a 13 per cent increased risk of hypertension.
As per the researchers at “EuroHeartCare 2019”, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology, in Italy’s Milan, exposure to passive smoking for 10 years or more was related to a 17 per cent increased risk of hypertension and men and women were equally affected.
“Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke regardless of whether the smoker is still in the room,” said study author Professor Byung Jin Kim from Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea.
“Our study in non-smokers shows that the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) is higher with longer duration of passive smoking — but even the lowest amounts are dangerous,” Kim added.
This is the first large study to examine the association between secondhand smoke and hypertension in never-smokers verified by urinary levels of cotinine, the principal metabolite of nicotine.
The study was conducted on 131,739 never-smokers, one-third men, and an average age of 35 years.
The researchers found that participants with hypertension were significantly more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work (27.9 per cent) than those with normal blood pressure (22.6 per cent).
Hypertension was significantly more common in people exposed to passive smoke at home or work (7.2 per cent) in comparison to no exposure (5.5 per cent).
“The results suggest that it is necessary to keep completely away from secondhand smoke, not just reduce exposure, to protect against hypertension,” stated Professor Kim.