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Unborn babies threatened by passive smoking

Passive smoking found to be almost as damaging to developing babies as mum-to-be smoking

Posted: 2 July 2010
by Kimberley Smith

Babies who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in the womb are at a similar risk of cancers and genetic mutations as those whose mums smoked during pregnancy.

Researchers in the US have investigated genetic abnormalities found in children born to mums who were subject to long term and extensive passive smoking during their pregnancies. They’ve discovered that similar levels of genetic mutations to those found in children whose mums continued to smoke during pregnancy.

The research identified a smoke-induced mutation that changes normal cells to cancerous cells, putting the babies at risk of developing cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma later in life.

“Pregnant women should not only stop smoking but be aware of their exposure to tobacco smoke from other family members, work and social situations,” said Dr Stephen Grant, who lead the research. The study was published in the Open Paediatric Medicine Journal.

Find out how you can avoid passive smoking with our tips.

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