Children of women who smoked during pregnancy more likely to smoke

May 12, 2011

The children of women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to smoke themselves in the future.

The children of women who smoked while they were pregnant are more likely to become smokers than others, according to a recent study by researchers for the Academy of Finland's Research Program on Substance Abuse.

Scientists used pregnant adolescent mice to determine the effects of nicotine use on offspring, adding the substance to their drinking water.

Baby mice born to the nicotine exposed mice showed different behaviors from mice born in the control group, according to researchers. The nicotine group was more likely to self-administer the drug than offspring in the control group.

"The results support the hypothesis that adolescents with prenatal nicotine exposure are more likely to start smoking earlier than their peers and that they are also more susceptible to the addictive effects of nicotine, especially as a result of stress and peer pressure," researchers said.

Smoking while pregnant has also recently been linked to a number of congenital heart defects in offspring. The habit has been scientifically connected to a number of illnesses and inconveniences for the smokers themselves as well, including cancer, heart disease and higher health and life insurance premiums.  

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