NEJM Journal Watch
By Joe Elia
Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM
Childhood exposure to tobacco, whether directly through smoking or at second hand, is associated with elevated blood pressure, reports a study in JAMA Network Open.
Researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted from 2007 to 2016, which included a nationally representative group of 8500 youths aged 8 to 18 years with data on BP and tobacco exposure. Elevated BP was defined as above the 90th percentile for age, sex, and height; a history of hypertension; or use of antihypertensive drugs.
Children with any tobacco exposure were 1.6 times as likely to have elevated BP as those with no exposure. That odds ratio dropped to 1.3 after adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, and other confounders — but remained statistically significant.
The authors write, “It is conceivable that a reduction in tobacco exposure among youths may be associated with lower economic and human costs from hypertension and subsequent [cardiovascular disease].”