Young children's health may be compromised by their parents' smoking, according to research published by the American Heart Association.
Researchers examined the health of more than 4,000 kindergarteners in Germany. Children whose parents smoked were 21 percent more likely to have high blood pressure.
Study author Dr. Giacomo Simonetti says early exposure to certain toxins can impact a child's health later in life.
"The prevention of adult diseases like stroke or heart attack begins during childhood," says Simonetti. "Parental smoking is not only negative for children's lung function, but poses a risk for their future cardiovascular health."
Smoking has other negative consequences as well. Those who pick up the habit are likely to pay higher life insurance premiums because the condition has been linked to lung cancer among several other medical ailments.
Second-hand smoke has also been correlated with several other health consequences. Several states have created laws barring smoking in public areas because of this. Earlier this month, a poll found that most voters in Kentucky supported such legislation, saying the practice was a "serious health hazard."