Study confirms association between tobacco smoke and behavioral problems in children

Dec 09, 2009

The scientists observed that the impact of tobacco smoke was especially detrimental during gestation. The results of the study have been published in the current online issue of the renowned journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

"We were able to show that children who are exposed to prenatally and during the first years of life have a higher risk of developing abnormal behavioral symptoms when they are of school age," said Dr. Joachim Heinrich of the Institute of Epidemiology at Helmholtz Zentrum München. "Moreover, it makes a difference whether the child was exposed to tobacco smoke first after birth or was already confronted with it during prenatal development."

According to the study, children who were only exposed to tobacco smoke prenatally have a 1.9 times higher risk of developing abnormal behavioral symptoms in comparison to children without any exposure (change this if it is the wrong comparison). The risk for children first exposed to tobacco smoke after birth is 1.3 times higher. Furthermore, children who were exposed to tobacco smoke both while in the womb and while growing up doubled the risk of developing abnormal behavioral symptoms. Such symptoms include , attention deficits or problems in their relationships with peers. The results of the study were independent of affects from the in which the children were growing up.

In the framework of the GINI-plus study, data of a large birth cohort comprising 5991 children and their parents was analyzed. Extensive studies will follow up on this study. "The value of our study is based not only on our prospective, investigative approach, but also on the comprehensiveness of our survey as to possible pollution levels for the unborn, infants and children at different times," Joachim Heinrich explained. "This makes it possible to determine the effects of prenatal and postnatal tobacco smoke exposure and to differentiate between them."

To ensure the validity of their results from the questionnaires, the scientists carried out carefully controlled tests to exclude possible bias due to social factors. Simon Rückinger, lead author of the study, stated: "The relationship we found between tobacco exposure during fetal development and early childhood and behavioral problems at school age was not biased by other factors of the social environment."

The findings make clear that tobacco smoke exposure has a significant impact on the behavioral development of children. The negative influence is greater on the unborn child during the pregnancy of the mother than it is after this sensitive developmental phase.

More information: Rückinger S, Rzehak P, Chen C-M, Sausenthaler S, Koletzko S, Bauer C-P, Hoffmann U, Kramer U, Berdel D, von Berg A, Bayer O, Wichmann H.-E., von Kries R, Heinrich J: Prenatal and Postnatal Tobacco Exposure and Behavioural Problems in 10 Year Old : Results from the GINI-plus Prospective Birth Cohort Study, , [Online 07 October 2009]. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901209

Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exposure to lead, tobacco smoke raises risk of ADHD

Nov 23, 2009

Children exposed prenatally to tobacco smoke and during childhood to lead face a particularly high risk for ADHD, according to research done at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Your baby's brain on drugs (and alcohol and tobacco)

Apr 07, 2008

Although behavioral studies clearly indicate that exposure to drugs, alcohol and tobacco in utero is bad for a baby’s developing brain, specific anatomic brain effects have been hard to tease out in humans. Often users ...

Ear infections linked to passive smoking

May 19, 2008

A new report from Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research has found a strong link between childhood ear infections and exposure to tobacco smoke. The results are published in the latest edition of the Medical Jo ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

April010
not rated yet Dec 10, 2009
"The risk for children first exposed to tobacco smoke after birth is 1.3 times higher."

This is why so many parents are smoking whitecloudecigoutlet.com.