We’ve known for a long time that secondhand smoke is harmful to public health. A recent study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology finds secondhand smoke exposure may also damage the kidneys.
Korean researchers studied over 130,000 nonsmokers with normal kidney function who participated in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study from 2001 to 2014. The researchers separated the nonsmokers into three groups based on how often they were exposed to secondhand smoke: not at all, fewer than three days a week and more than three days a week.
After controlling for various health and behavioral characteristics that could affect kidney health, the researchers found people who were exposed to secondhand smoke more than three days a week had a 44 percent higher risk of kidney disease. After nine years of follow-up, study participants with secondhand smoke exposure continued to have a significantly higher risk of developing kidney disease, a nonreversible condition.
The study is the latest research linking secondhand smoke to health problems. Secondhand smoke has also been linked to lung cancer in nonsmokers, asthma and heart disease.
The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from secondhand smoke is to quit smoking and keep your home and other places smoke-free. You can also limit exposure by avoiding time spent in places that allow indoor smoking and eating at smoke-free restaurants. If someone you know needs help quitting the smoking habit, steer them toward 1-800-QUIT-NOW for resources and support.