Study links secondhand smoking with dangerous heart rhythm disorder

Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Linked to Greater Risk of Heart Rhythm Disorder

London, April 7 (IANS) Exposure to passive smoking or secondhand smoke is associated with a greater risk of a serious heart rhythm disorder, a new study revealed on Sunday. Atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder globally, is seen to escalate with increased exposure to secondhand smoke.

According to the study presented at the European Heart Rhythm Association EHRA 2024, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases significantly as the exposure time lengthens. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.

Dr Kyung-Yeon Lee of Seoul National University Hospital, South Korea, stated, “The dangers of secondhand smoke were significant regardless of whether individuals were at home, outdoors, or at work, indicating that exposure universally elevates the risk of atrial fibrillation.”

The study examined the link between secondhand smoke exposure and the long-term risk of incident atrial fibrillation. Adults aged 40 to 69 years were included in the analysis, with a total of 400,493 adults studied. Participants were categorised into ‘exposed’ and ‘non-exposed’ groups.

The group exposed to secondhand smoke had a six per cent higher risk of incident atrial fibrillation during follow-up compared with the non-exposed group, the study found. A dose-dependent relationship was observed, with each increase in weekly passive smoking duration linked to a greater risk of atrial fibrillation.

Dr Lee highlighted, “The finding that passive smoking is harmful not only in enclosed indoor spaces but also in outdoor environments underscores the importance of smoking bans to protect public health.” The risk of atrial fibrillation for passive smokers was noted to be raised in homes, workplaces, and outside spaces, as per the researchers.


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