Smoking Increases Stroke Risk for Your Spouse

Jul 29, 2008
Second hand smoking considerably increases the risk of stroke for your spouse, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that nonsmokers married to smokers have the 42 percent increased risk of having a stroke in comparison to those who are married to nonsmokers. The risk rose up to 72 percent for former smokers who are married to smokers, the researchers said.

As much as 16,225 people aged 50 and up who did not have a stroke in the past took part in the research. The nine-year study revealed the second hand smoking as a risk factor for spouse's stroke. It was also found that being married to a former smoker do not raise the risk if compared to being married to a partner who never smoked. This means that quitting smoking helps to eliminate the risk for individual's as well as partner's risk.

Maria Glymour of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and Columbia University in New York, the leading author of the research said that the findings show the growing evidence of the health problems associated with second hand smoking.

Previous studies showed the increased risk of stroke for smokers, but there was not enough evidence to suggest the same effect for second hand smoking.

Second hand smoking is associated with such health problems as lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer, respiratory tract infections, heart disease and other conditions.

The second hand smoke is known to contain a great number of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, benzene, radioactive polonium 210 and other carcinogens. In the current study, researchers analyzed the health risks for the spouses of smokers and did not look at health consequences for children.

"We know that there are a lot of undesirable health consequences for kids, especially asthma and breathing problems that are exacerbated by secondhand smoke," Glymour said.

The study will be published in the September 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.