Children exposed to cigarette smoke may be at greater risk of health complications later in life, according to new research.
The Menzies Research Institute Tasmania contributed to the international study, which evaluated the health effects of passive smoking on children over a 20-year period.
According to researcher Seana Gall, the participants experienced some alarming results, with an ultrasound on a blood vessel in their arm revealing irreversible cardiovascular damage.
"There's quite a strong link between passive smoking and the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke," Dr Gall told the ABC today (May 23).
"We found that people who have been exposed to parental smoking when they were children had less elastic arteries, an early indicator of poor cardiovascular health," she added, speaking to the Herald Sun.
Some Australians may wish to use the new research as an incentive to quit smoking altogether – and those with private health insurance may be able to access lifestyle management programs to help them do so.
According to the New South Wales government, smoking-related illness accounts for around 5,200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations per year in the state.