More info on the sticky arteries statement

By Gordon Kelley,2014-05-09 21:11
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More info on the sticky arteries statement

    Health effects of short periods of exposure to second-hand


    5 minutes exposure = stiffened aorta (main artery from the heart to the body) 20 minutes exposure = the blood of a non-smoker becomes as “sticky” as the blood

     of a pack-a-day smoker

30 minutes exposure = arteries are adversely affected

    = fatty deposits can build up in arterial walls

120 minutes exposure = heartbeat affected

After 5 minutes stiffened aorta

    Exposure to second-hand smoke stiffens the aorta as much as smoking a cigarette 1does, making it harder for the heart to pump blood around the body.

After 20 minutes sticky blood

    Exposure to second-hand smoke activates blood platelets which normally help the blood to clot and stop bleeding from a wound. If the platelets are activated while still in the bloodstream, the resulting sticky blood still has to move round the body. Sticky blood increases the likelihood of a blood clot forming, blocking a heart or brain artery, and causing a heart attack or stroke.

    Sticky blood also damages the artery lining, which can lead to cholesterol build-up and narrowing of arteries. This can cause coronary heart disease, chest pains and heart 2attacks.

After 30 minutes arteries affected

    Non-smokers usually have arteries that can dilate and boost blood flow to the heart more efficiently than a smoker’s arteries. But exposure to second-hand smoke

    compromises that advantage after 30 minutes, to the same degree as for a pack-a-day 3smoker.

Also, after 30 minutes exposure to second-hand smoke, the body’s natural anti-

    oxidant defences, which help non-smokers manage LDL (bad) cholesterol, are depressed for several hours. Fatty deposits can then build up on the artery walls, 4increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

After 120 minutes heartbeat affected

    As well as causing a faster and irregular heartbeat, second-hand smoke reduces the small random variations in the heartbeat rhythm known as “heart rate variability”. This in turn can cause arrhythmia large variations in heartbeat that can cause heart 5attack or death.

     6The above information was adapted from This website

    has further information about second-hand smoke.

    - Second-hand Smoke Factsheets

    Compiled by HSC/Quit Group Research team

    - 1 -


     1 Stefanadis C, Vlachopoulos C, Tsiamis E, Diamantopoulos L, Toutouzas K, Giatrakos N, Vaina S, Tsekoura D, Toutouzas P. Unfavorable effects of passive smoking on aortic function in men. Annals of Internal Medicine 1998;128:426-34.

     2 Burghuber C, Punzengruber Ch, Sinzinger H, Haber P, Silberbauer K. Platelet sensitivity to prostacyclin in smokers and non-smokers. Chest 1986;90:34-8.

     3 Otsuka R, Watanabe H, Hirata K, Tokai K, Muro T, Yoshiyama M, Takeuchi K, Yoshikawa J. Acute effects of passive smoking on the coronary circulation in healthy young adults. JAMA


     4 Valkonen M, Kuusi T. Passive smoking induces atherogenic changes in low-density lipoprotein. Circulation 1998;97:2012-16.

     5 Pope A, Eatough D, Gold D, Pang Y, Nielsen K, Nath P, Verrier R, Kanner R. Acute exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and heart rate variability. Environmental Health

    Perspectives 2001;109:711-16.

     6 Glantz S. A Little is Dangerous. 2003. Sourced from October 2003.

    - Second-hand Smoke Factsheets

    Compiled by HSC/Quit Group Research team

    - 2 -

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