Dose dependent effects of passive smoke on vascular function
Initial Award Abstract
Secondhand smoke remains a significant public health threat. Despite recent public health initiatives attempting to limit this threat, more work is needed to understand fully its damaging effects. Data suggests that for every 8 people who die from smoking related illnesses 1 person dies from secondhand smoke exposure. While the dose of smoke inhaled from secondhand smoke is only a fraction of that inhaled from active smoking, the cardiovascular complications are nearly as large. Several large studies have suggested that local governmental restrictions on smoking in workplaces and public spaces have lowered the rates of heart attacks in the community. Despite these findings skepticism persists about how such low levels of smoking exposure can have such damaging health effects. Within the scientific community, little is known about how everyday low doses of smoke encountered in the community affects the cardiovascular system.
This study hope to fill several gaps in our scientific knowledge and answer a simple question: what are the vascular effects of very low doses of smoke on healthy individuals who are exposed? Moreover, does being exposed to very low amounts of smoke have the same detrimental effects as higher amounts? We plan to study healthy volunteers and expose them to very low levels of secondhand smoke for a short duration in a custom built smoking chamber, mimicking exposures seen in public places. We will then measure how their blood vessels respond after being exposed to secondhand smoke using a simple ultrasound technique that has been shown to predict long term cardiovascular complications. We will also measure several blood tests in to better understand the mechanism by which passive smoke leads to adverse cardiovascular complications.
By gaining insights into the amount of smoke needed to injure the vascular system, and the mechanisms by which these injuries occur, we hope to discover important information that can inform future public health policy discussions and allow physicians to better counsel their patients about secondhand smoke. We also hope to gain a better understanding of the science by which environmental exposures can injure the vascular system. |