Children Of Smokers Suffer Negative Health Effects Later In Life

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The negative effects of environmental tobacco smoke on a child who lives with parents who smoke continue to linger long after that child has left home, a new Ohio State University study suggests.

In tests, college students who were exposed to high levels of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) as children maintained higher blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and heart rate at rest and during psychological stress compared to students who grew up with low levels of ETS.

"We've learned that children who grow up in a smoking household will have small but long-lasting negative effects on their health," said Catherine Stoney, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State. "You don't have to be the one smoking, but you can still vicariously suffer some of the effects," said Lisa Manzi Lentino, psychology graduate student.

The work appeared in a recent issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, in a paper co-authored by Stoney, Lentino, and Karen Emmons of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard School of Public Heath, in Boston.

Past research has shown that adults who grew up in smoking homes attained higher blood pressure and heart rate during physical stress than did adults who grew up in non-smoking homes. Stoney, Lentino, and Emmons wanted to find out whether the same result held true for psychological stress.

The 78 male Ohio State students who participated in the study were all taking an introductory level psychology course. Their average age was 19 years, so most had been living away from home for approximately one year. Both groups -- those students from smoking homes and those from non-smoking homes -- were healthy and reported little exposure to ETS in their lives at the time of the study; most lived in university dormitories where residents are not allowed to smoke. When subjected to tests designed to induce psychological stress, both groups of students experienced rough

Contact: Catherine Stoney
Ohio State University

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