Just 10 cigarettes during pregnancy can harm kids

June 6, 2017

(HealthDay)—Babies born to women who smoked as few as 10 cigarettes are more apt to have thinking and learning problems later, a new study suggests.

Studies have long shown that babies born to smokers are likely to be premature, small and have behavior problems early on. The new research found that the of in the womb can last for years, taking a toll on teens' executive function—learned skills involving memory, reasoning, problem-solving and planning—that are important in school and life.

Up to 8 percent of U.S. women smoke during pregnancy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors said the new findings point to the need for more programs to help women of childbearing age quit smoking.

"Because tobacco is one of the most common substances used during pregnancy—and it's legal for adults to use—these results indicate the tremendous importance of bolstering efforts to ensure that women of childbearing age and pregnant have increased access to evidence-based tobacco smoking cessation programs," said study first author Ruth Rose-Jacobs.

She is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine.

For the study, Rose-Jacobs and her colleagues focused on a group of 131 teens who had been followed since before birth, and information on prenatal exposure was available. The researchers had the teens' complete a form assessing the students' executive function.

After considering students' exposure to violence, lead and other substances as well as their backgrounds, the team found that only to was linked with worse in the teen years, particularly the ability to regulate behavior.

The researchers said exposure to as few as 10 cigarettes was enough to hurt thinking skills, though the study only found an association rather than a cause-and-effect link.

"Given that as few as 10 cigarettes can have a negative impact, it is imperative that we act on this and provide as much access and education as we can to help prevent these negative outcomes," Rose-Jacobs said in a university news release.

The study was published online June 1 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Explore further: In utero tobacco exposure can lead to executive function issues in adolescents

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on tobacco exposure during pregnancy.

Related Stories

In utero tobacco exposure can lead to executive function issues in adolescents

June 1, 2017
Prenatal tobacco exposure is known to have negative short-term impacts including preterm birth, low birth weight and subsequent behavioral issues. However, a new study found that the negative impacts can last well into the ...

Smoking mothers more likely to have babies with dental abnormalities

May 31, 2017
Women who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day during pregnancy are much more likely to give birth to babies who will fail to grow all their teeth, new University of Otago research has found.

Smoking losing its cool with kids, CDC says

September 22, 2016
(HealthDay)—U.S. teens seem to be losing interest in smoking cigarettes and cigars, a new federal report finds.

Nicotine in E-cigs can trigger lifelong addiction in kids: docs

December 19, 2016
(HealthDay)—The earlier youngsters start using nicotine—even in the form of e-cigarettes—the harder it is for them to quit a habit that could last a lifetime.

Prenatal cocaine exposure increases risk of higher teen drug use, trouble coping with stress and likelihood of addiction

May 3, 2017
While the crack cocaine epidemic peaked in the late 1980's, its effects are still causing harm to an estimated 3 million teenagers and young adults exposed to the stimulant in the womb.

1 in 4 U.S. adults, 1 in 10 teens use tobacco

January 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—Despite the dangers, many American adults and teens still use tobacco products, a new study finds.

Recommended for you

Study identifies brain patterns underlying mothers' responses to infant cries

October 23, 2017
Infant cries activate specific brain regions related to movement and speech, according to a National Institutes of Health study of mothers in 11 countries. The findings, led by researchers at NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver ...

Economist outlines reforms to improve access to affordable, high quality child care

October 22, 2017
For families in the U.S., the costs of high-quality child care are exorbitant, especially for those with children under age five. A new policy proposal, "Public Investments in Child Care," by Dartmouth Associate Professor ...

Is rushing your child to the ER the right response?

October 16, 2017
If a child gets a small burn from a hot pan, starts choking or swallows medication, parents may struggle to decide whether to provide first aid at home or rush them to the hospital, suggests a new national poll.

Happier mealtimes, healthier eating for kids

October 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Parents who struggle to get their children to follow a healthy diet may want to make dinnertime a pleasant experience, new research suggests.

Children born prematurely have greater risk of cognitive difficulties later in life

October 11, 2017
Babies born preterm have a greater risk of developing cognitive, motor and behavioural difficulties and these problems persist throughout school years, finds a new study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Helping preemies avoid unnecessary antibiotics

October 5, 2017
(HealthDay)—Researchers say they have identified three criteria that suggest an extremely premature infant has a low risk of developing sepsis, which might allow doctors to spare these babies early exposure to antibiotics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.