A new study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has linked smoking and other risk factors for heart disease in young adults to a greater risk of later developing coronary calcium, a marker of coronary artery disease (Loria CM et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2007.03.009 [published online May 15, 2007]).
The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study of 5115 young adults aged 18 to 30 years found that smoking, an elevated body mass index, elevated blood pressure, or elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or fasting blood glucose in early adulthood were linked to a 2 to 3 times greater risk of developing calcium deposits in the arteries of the heart 15 years later.
Hampton T. Coronary Calcium Risks. JAMA. 2007;297(20):2188. doi:10.1001/jama.297.20.2188-a