The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke has been found to cause many health problems in infants and children, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Some of the health conditions which are caused by secondhand smoke in adults include heart disease and lung cancer. On March 8, 2013, Chris Kaiser has reported for MedPage Today, Secondhand Smoke Riskier than Cholesterol.
Researchers have found the risk of clogging of the arteries is greater from secondhand smoke than from several well-known heart disease risk factors, including high cholesterol. Harvey S. Hecht, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues reported in this study the overall prevalence of coronary artery plaque in those exposed to secondhand smoke was 24%, which rose to 26% in those with the highest exposure, in comparison with 19% for the general public. Furthermore, those with the highest amount of exposure to passive smoke were found to be 90% more likely to have coronary plaque in comparison with the general public.
Although previous studies have shown there is a marked increase in cardiac events related to secondhand smoke, the authors have said this study is the first to demonstrate there is a clear dose-response relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and the earliest detectable signs of heart disease. Hecht has said in a statement, "This research provides additional evidence that secondhand smoke is harmful and may be even more dangerous than we previously thought." It was also determined that exposure as an adult was more significant than exposure during childhood. Hecht has also said that inquiring about secondhand smoke exposure should be a part of every routine exam.