Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
March 03, 2021
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Persistent passive smoking exposure increases NAFLD risk

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Exposure to passive smoking from childhood through adulthood was associated with increased risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to study results.

“Little is known about the long-term influence of passive smoking on fatty liver particularly when the exposure occurs at an early stage of life,” Feitong Wu, MD, from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania in Australia, and colleagues wrote. “Using data from a 31-year prospective population-based cohort study, we aimed to examine the association between passive smoking in child and adult lives with adult risk of fatty liver.”

Infographic on the risk for NAFLD due to passive smoking.
Exposure to passive smoking from childhood through adulthood was associated with increased risk for NAFLD.

Researchers collected data from 1,315 individuals starting with childhood passive smoking (parental smoking) in 1980 and 1983. They also collected exposure to passive smoking in adulthood in 2001, 2007 and 2011. Finally, they screened for NAFLD using ultrasound in 2011.

The prevalence of NAFLD in the cohort was 16.3%.

After adjusting for factors such as adulthood physical activity and alcohol consumption, researchers found that exposure to passive smoking in childhood (RR = 1.41; 95% CI, 1.01-1.97) and adulthood (RR = 1.35; 95% CI, 1.01-1.82) was associated with higher risk for NAFLD.

Individuals who had persistent exposure to passive smoking between childhood and adulthood had the highest risk for NAFLD (RR = 1.99; 95% CI, 1.14-3.45) compared with individuals without exposure in either childhood or adulthood.

“Individuals with persistent exposure to passive smoking between child and adult life had the highest risk of adult fatty liver,” Wu and colleagues wrote. “These findings suggest that effective strategies for preventing passive smoking in both child and adult life may substantially reduce adult risk of fatty liver.”