Secondhand Smoking Raises Blood Pressure Among Boys

According to a new study, second-hand smoking may affect boys in more ways than we had realized in the past.

Jill Baumgartner from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of the Environment conducted the research using statistics of 6,400 children between the ages of eight and seventeen years. This study found that passive smoking can put boys at a higher risk for high blood pressure.

While it is usual for a child’s blood pressure to go up as he ages, the increase due to secondhand smoking may put boys at risk for lifelong conditions such as heart and kidney disease.

Oddly enough, boys are the only ones who experience this problem. It actually has the opposite effect on girls, who have a decrease in their blood pressure if exposed to passive smoking. Baumgartner says that her next step is to discover why boys and girls are affected so differently by secondhand smoking.

While the raise in blood pressure among boys is not high enough to cause immediate harm, it can still pose a future health problem which could result in serious, long term conditions. Researchers said that, although these raises in blood pressure would not be extremely frightening if they only happened to one or two random boys, the large population that is affected by passive smoking could create a problem.

Baumgartner considers this new research to be an additional reason for tighter smoking bans to protect children from secondhand smoking.

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