Parents’ smoking may lead to children’s heart problems |

Parents’ smoking may lead to children’s heart problems

Secondhand smoke has long been known to be linked to lung problems, but a new study has identified another hazard – increased risk of a common heart rhythm problem decades later.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that adults who grew up with smokers were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation versus those with nonsmoking parents.

While it is well-established that smoking is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, less has been known about whether secondhand smoke can raise the risk.

In the study, published Sept. 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers used data from two large health studies that followed families over two generations. Of more than 2,800 adult offspring, about 14% were diagnosed with AFib over 40 years. That risk, the study found, increased among those with greater childhood exposure to parents’ smoking.

For every pack of cigarettes parents smoked every day, their children’s risk of eventually developing AFib rose by 18%, the investigators found.

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