Objective To investigate the association between common carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT) and exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) in children.
Methods Data were available at baseline in the Quebec Adiposity and Lifestyle investigation in Youth (QUALITY) study, an ongoing longitudinal investigation of Caucasian children aged 8–10 years at cohort inception, who had at least one obese parent. Data on exposure to parents, siblings and friends smoking were collected in interviewer-administered child, and self-report parent questionnaires. Blood cotinine was measured with a high sensitivity ELISA. cIMT was measured by ultrasound. The association between blood cotinine and cIMT was investigated in multivariable linear regression analyses controlling for age, body mass index, and child smoking status.
Results Mean (SD) cIMT (0.5803 (0.04602)) did not differ across age or sex. Overall 26%, 6% and 3% of children were exposed to parents, siblings and friends smoking, respectively. Cotinine ranged from 0.13 ng/ml to 7.38 ng/ml (median (IQR)=0.18 ng/ml)). Multivariately, a 1 ng/ml increase in cotinine was associated with a 0.090 mm increase in cIMT (p=0.034).
Conclusion In children as young as age 8–10 years, exposure to SHS relates to cIMT, a marker of pre-clinical atherosclerosis. Given the wide range of health effects of SHS, increased public health efforts are needed to reduced exposure among children in homes an private vehicles.
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