TOBACCO: Smoking While Pregnant Could Yield Kid Smokers
Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy may be predisposed to experiment with tobacco at an early age, according to a study in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Of the 589 10-year-olds surveyed, more than 50% had mothers who smoked an average of 15 cigarettes per day during pregnancy. Although only 6% of the 10-year-olds reported that they had tried tobacco, researchers found that 37 of those children were more likely to be born to mothers who smoked while pregnant. The study seems to suggest that when nicotine and other tobacco products cross the placenta, they "can somehow change the brains of the unborn babies to make them more likely to try smoking." While previous studies indicated that children of smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves, lead researcher Marie Cornelius of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said, "The role of prenatal tobacco exposure has been largely overlooked as a risk factor for the development of tobacco use among youth." She added, "Our findings indicate that fetal exposure to tobacco may have a significant impact on early initiation of tobacco use in children" (Reuters/Contra Costa Times, 5/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.