• Biological evidence for the acute health effects of secondhand smoke exposure

      Flouris, Andreas D.; Vardavas, Constantine I.; Metsios, Giorgos S.; Tsatsakis, A. M.; Koutedakis, Yiannis (American Physiological Society, 2010)
      A vast number of studies on the unfavorable effects of secondhand smoke (SHS) exist within the international literature, the majority of which evaluate longitudinal epidemiological data. Although limited, the experimental studies that assess the acute and short-term effects of exposure to SHS are also increasing in number. They include cellular, animal, and human studies that indicate a number of pathophysiological mechanisms through which the deleterious effects of SHS may arise. This current review evaluates the existing biological evidence regarding the acute health effects of SHS exposure. Analyses on the inhaled toxicants and the carcinogenicity of SHS are included as well as in-depth discussions on the evidence for acute SHS-induced respiratory, cardiovascular, metabolic, endocrine and immune effects, and SHS-induced influences on oxygen delivery and exercise. The influence of the length of exposure and the duration of the observed effects is also described. Moreover, recent findings regarding the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms related to SHS are depicted so as to generate models that describe the SHS-induced effects on different systems within the human body. Based on the presented biological evidence, it is concluded that brief, acute, transient exposures to SHS may cause significant adverse effects on several systems of the human body and represent a significant and acute health hazard. Future research directions in this area include research on the concentrations of tobacco smoke constituents in the alveolar milieu following SHS exposure, individual susceptibility to SHS, as well as the effects of SHS on neurobehavioral activity, brain cell development, synaptic development, and function.