He said the Ancestral Puebloans who lived in underground caves in modern-day Colorado and Utah, used fire for heat and cooking, producing a lot of smoke.
'They were breathing in a lot of smoke and that could have had the same effect as cigarettes,' he said.
Dr Randall Thompson, a cardiologist at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, clearly hasn't read the official New Puritan script! Tobacco smoke has a special and different set of poisons that make it uniquely deadly. Unlike diesel fumes, barbecues or bonfires.
However, the nannying fussbuckets got the last word - forget the evidence and carry on with the finger wagging:
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said calcified arteries could also be caused by other ailments including endocrine disorders and that it was impossible to tell from the CT scans if the types of calcium deposits in the mummies were the kind that would have sparked a heart attack or stroke.
'It's a fascinating study but I'm not sure we can say atherosclerosis is an inevitable part of ageing,'
Absolutely - how dare these researchers discover the fussbuckets might be wrong!