Kid more likely to smoke if mom did while pregnant: study

2009-05-20 10:16 BJT

LOS ANGELES, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Kids are more apt to smoke if their mothers smoked during pregnancy, a new study has found.

Kids are more apt to smoke if their mothers smoked during pregnancy, a new study has found.
Kids are more apt to smoke if their mothers
smoked during pregnancy, a new study has found.
(File photo)

For the study, researchers at the University of Arizona used data from the Tucson Children's Respiratory Study to see whether a mother's smoking during pregnancy and during her child's early years affected whether the child smoked later on.

The researchers assessed maternal smoking during pregnancy and when infants were 1.5 months and 1.5 years old and again when the children were 6, 9 and 11 years old. They then looked at the children's smoking behavior when they were at ages 16 and 22.

They found that women who smoked during pregnancy and during their children's early years were more likely to have kids who smoked at age 22. This proved true whether the mother smoked or did not smoke during the child's school years.

In fact, these children are four times more likely to become regular smokers, according to the study.

In addition, the children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy and their early years were less likely to quit smoking than were the offspring of mothers who never smoked or who started smoking when their children were school-age.

The research suggested that biological changes take place in the womb.

"Somehow smoke is changing the brain chemistry," said the lead researcher, Dr. Roni Grad, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the university.

"If you are exposed to smoking prenatally or in the early years of life, you are much more likely to be a chronic smoker at the age of 22," Grad said.

The researchers presented their study at the American Thoracic Society's international conference in San Diego, Southern California, which opened on Tuesday.

Editor: Yang Jie | Source: Xinhua