Smoking can put grandkids at risk - study

Comment on this story
cigarette sxc File photo

London - Women who smoke while pregnant may not only cause health problems for their children – but also their children’s children.

Research suggests the dangers can spill down the generations, with a smoker’s grandchildren also more likely to suffer from asthma.

Experts believe the harm caused by smoking in pregnancy can “switch on” bad genes, which are then passed on. During pregnancy, nicotine can affect a baby’s developing lungs, predisposing the infant to childhood asthma.

Although this risk is well-known, researchers from Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre in California in the US wanted to investigate the implications for future generations.

They tested the effect of nicotine exposure during pregnancy on rats, looking not only at their pups, named F1, but also at second generation pups, F2. The researchers found exposure inside the womb resulted in F1 offspring having reduced lung function consistent with asthma. However, it also impaired lung function of F1’s offspring F2, even though the F1 rats were not exposed to nicotine once they were born. A gene function associated with normal lung development was also reduced in both generations of offspring, says a report published in the journal BMC Medicine.

Dr Virender Rehan, who led the study, said: “The effects of smoking during pregnancy are, it seems, very long lasting.

“Stop-smoking education aimed at mothers-to-be and women planning pregnancy needs to take into account the fact that nicotine itself contains dangers to their children and children’s children.” - Daily Mail

Get our free Lifestyle newsletter - subscribe here...

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines