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What is my risk regarding exposure to second-hand smoke?

I have a family history of heart disease at very young ages, so I take whatever measures I can to minimize my own risks and have become slightly paranoid, some might say! I read about endothelial dysfunction and damage to the endothelial repair mechanisms occurring from 30 minutes of second-hand smoke exposure. While I live in an area where smoking bans are enforced, I have, on very rare occasions, been forced to endure brief exposures. Would this sort of damage be permanent if it is not repeated, or is it really a warning about what could happen with brief exposures on a daily basis?

submitted by Jane from New York City on 2/7/2013


by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Guilherme V. Silva, MD  

Guilherme Silva, MDExposure to second hand smoke, if brief, should not cause permanent damage to the endothelial function. However, avoid repeated exposures to second hand smoke, and most importantly, consult a cardiologist to assess your risk and pursue primary prevention measures. Hope that helps!  

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Updated February 2013
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