Thursday, May 21, 2009

Researchers Say Children Who Are Exposed to Smoking Prenatally or at Young Ages Are More Likely to Become Smokers

It annoys me that this headline is so exclusively focused on pregnant women.  It seems the data shows not just that pregnant women should avoid smoking but that all parents of young children, regardless of gender, should not smoke near their children.

USA Today/HealthDay: Scientists believe kids more apt to smoke if mom did while pregnant, by Steven Reinberg:

Cigarette butt Smoking while pregnant "biologically primes" the unborn child to become a regular smoker as a teen and young adult, according to a theory put forth by University of Arizona researchers.

"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.

In fact, these children are four times more likely to become regular smokers, according to the research, which was to be presented May 19 at the American Thoracic Society's international conference in San Diego.

Why the obsessive focus on mothers, when the inconclusiveness of the study clearly indicates that no one should smoke around young children?

"Nobody should smoke," Grad said. "I would definitely discourage any mother from smoking around her child. If children have been exposed in early life to smoke, I would really go the extra mile to try to keep them from experimenting, because they may be at higher risk of becoming nicotine dependent very quickly."... (emphasis added)

Edelman said that the researchers seem to favor a biologic explanation, such as an alteration of brain neurochemistry during pregnancy. "However, the study does not include enough information to rule out social factors, such as increased smoking of others in the household even though the mother stops after childbirth."

Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety, Science | Permalink

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