Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Tied to Risk for Atrial Fibrillation

Dose-response relationship seen with risk heightened with longer duration exposure
Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Tied to Risk for Atrial Fibrillation
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

TUESDAY, April 9, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Even a small amount of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is linked to a greater risk for atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Heart Rhythm Association, held from April 7 to 9 in Berlin.

Kyung-Yeon Lee, from Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues used data from 400,493 adults (aged 40 to 69 years) participating in the U.K. Biobank.

The researchers found that 21 percent of participants reported being exposed to SHS in the previous year, with an average exposure of 2.2 hours per week. During a median follow-up of 12.5 years, AF developed in 6 percent of participants. Even when adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, daily alcohol consumption, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood lipids, and socioeconomic status, a 6 percent higher risk for AF persisted among those exposed to SHS. Every increase in the duration of weekly passive smoking was associated with further heightened risk for AF (e.g., 7.8 hours of passive smoking per week was associated with an 11 percent higher likelihood of AF versus no passive smoking). 

"The dangers of secondhand smoke were significant regardless of whether individuals were at home, outdoors, or at work, indicating that exposure universally elevates the risk of atrial fibrillation," Lee said in a statement. "We should all make every effort to avoid spending time in smoky environments."

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