Parents ‘should quit smoking’, expert claims

Parents and those who are thinking about having children should give up smoking, the author of a new study believes.

Dr Seana Gall's claims come after her team of researchers found that being exposed to second-hand smoke can cause long-term damage to a child's arteries.

As part of the study, experts from the University of Tasmania analysed over 2,000 youngsters between the ages of three and 18, looking closely at their parents' smoking habits. The results, which have been published in the European Heart Journal, show that passive smoking can heighten the risks of strokes and heart attacks in later life.

Dr Gall was quoted by bbc.co.uk as saying: "Our study shows that exposure to passive smoke in childhood causes a direct and irreversible damage to the structure of the arteries.

"Parents, or even those thinking about becoming parents, should quit smoking. This will not only restore their own health but also protect the health of their children into the future."

According to indiatimes.com, the researchers found that the risks only increased significantly if both of the child's parents smoked regularly. Dr Gall says that this could be down to the fact that single parents and those whose partners do not smoke are more likely to step out of the house to light up.