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Another reason not to smoke around children

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January 14, 2011|By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
  • Cigarette butts in an ashtray at Atocha train station in Madrid. A new Spanish anti-smoking law took effect Jan. 2 and prohibits smoking in all enclosed spaces as well as outside hospitals, at playgrounds and schools.
Cigarette butts in an ashtray at Atocha train station in Madrid. A new Spanish… (Susana Vera / Reuters )

On the off-chance you hadn't yet heard: You shouldn't smoke around your kids.

In addition to damaging young lungs, second-hand smoke increases blood pressure in kindergarten-age kids, researchers reported Monday in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.  

From February 2007 to October 2008 the team tracked 4,236 German children (average age, 5.7 years) who received an extended version of a compulsory school health exam. In addition to taking standard measurements of height and weight and such, examiners recorded the children's blood pressure and surveyed parents on their health and habits -- including smoking.

Kids with smoking parents had higher blood pressures than those whose parents didn't smoke, even after adjusting for other heart disease risk factors, including parental hypertension, premature birth or being overweight.   

Hypertension is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and it is probably established early in life, the team wrote.

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