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Passive smoking in kids could weaken bones, study finds

Adults exposed to cigarette smoke as kids suffered one-third more fractures than peers who grew up in smoke-free homes.

Isä tupakoi lasten leikkikentällä.
Image: AOP

Passive smoking has been associated with osteoporosis or bone weakness adults, but a new study by Finnish researchers suggests that the same may be true of children.

The finding is based on extensive research as part of the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, which began in 1980 and followed just over 1,400 participants between the ages of three and 18 into adulthood.

Researchers examined participants’ bone health when they were adults and found that individuals exposed to cigarette smoke as children had less bone density than their peers who grew up in smoke-free homes. Children who became passive smokers as a result of their parents’ habits also suffered one-third more fractures than the others.

The continine connection

The connection was found to be strongest in children whose parents smoked at home and who were most exposed to smoke, as determined by cotinine tests. Cotinine is a chemical manufactured by the body following exposure to nicotine.

Exposure to smoking during infancy and childhood may hinder bone development and weaken bones as a result. Bones continue to grow until the age of up to 30 in humans and after the age of 40, bone mass gradually declines.

Finnish medical authorities treat up to 40,000 bone fractures annually, and one of the main causes is said to be bone fragility.

The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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