In a new study, researchers found that smoky places, like a smoky room or a smoky car, could increase blood pressure and harm heart health.
They suggest people avoid exposure to secondhand smoke regardless of whether the smoker is still in the room.
The research was conducted by a team from Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
High blood pressure is the leading global cause of premature death. It accounts for almost ten million deaths in 2015.
Previous research has suggested a link between passive smoking and high blood pressure in non-smokers.
But most studies were small and only tested women.
In the study, the team examined 131,739 never-smokers with an average age of 35 years. One-third of the people are men.
They tested the urinary levels of cotinine, the principal metabolite of nicotine, in all of the participants.
They found that passive smoking at home or work was linked to a 13% increased risk of high blood pressure.
In addition, living with a smoker after age 20 was linked to a 15% greater risk of high blood pressure.
Exposure to passive smoking for ten years or more was related to a 17% increased risk of high blood pressure. Men and women were equally affected.
The findings suggest that many never-smokers are still exposed to secondhand smoke.
It is necessary to keep completely away from secondhand smoke to protect against high blood pressure.
It is important to have stricter smoking bans and to provide more help for smokers to kick the habit.
This is the first large study to examine the link between secondhand smoke and high blood pressure in never-smokers.
The lead author of the study is Professor Byung Jin Kim.
The study was presented today at EuroHeartCare 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
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