Increasing the number of cigarettes smoked in the home correlated to higher levels of 8-epi-PGF2alpha, regardless of the child's age or gender. Researchers found that if parents were together smoking more than 40 cigarettes a day, blood 8-epi-PGF2alpha was as much as 130 percent higher than that of the control group and urinary 8-epi-PGF2alpha was about 65 percent higher than in the control group. Further, smoking by the mother had a significantly more pronounced influence.
"We speculate that mothers may have closer contact with their children at home," Sinzinger says. It's too early to speculate on measures other than recommending parents not smoke when their children are present. "It is well known that atherosclerotic lesions on vascular tissue are strongly correlated to risk factors that include cigarette smoking," Sinzinger says. "Considering that in the United States and Western Europe nearly half of all children are exposed to second-hand smoke in some way, these findings could be of great importance. Later vascular disease might be triggered early in childhood by exposure to second-hand smoke."
In the Japanese study, researchers recruited 12 non-smoking men, average age 30, with no history of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. They tested their levels of 8-epi-PGF2alpha and used ultrasound to measure endothelial function in subjects' brachial artery before and after a 30-minute exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) is an inexpensive and safe way to evaluate endothelial function. It measures changes in the amount of blood flow through a particular blood vessel.