The Effects of Moms Who Smoke During Pregnancy

There’s been a number of studies that have
shown this link between moms smoking during pregnancy and risk for offspring smoking or
nicotine dependence. Some of the studies have shown higher rates
particularly in the daughters, some have shown equal between boys and boy and girl offspring. So we, number one, wanted to replicate that
effect in this large data set of moms who smoked in the 1960s. So we had a large sample of moms who smoked
during pregnancy and then we added what was unusual about the studies that we had a 40
year follow-up of the offspring. So we were able to see the emergence of tobacco
dependence in the offspring over a 40-year period. So we, number one, replicated the effects
of smoking during pregnancy and found it, particularly in the girls in the sample, the
daughters. And then we wanted to see the role of stress
hormones. There’s a number of reasons to think that
stress hormones are related to mom smoking and may also be a link to offspring smoking. We wanted to see if the cortisol or stress
hormones explain the relationship between smoking – mom smoking, offspring smoking. And again, it turned out to be two pathways. So there seems to be a smoking pathway, that
potentially may be related to nicotine, Earth’s, or the other many chemicals in tobacco cigarettes,
and then there seems to be a cortisol pathway that may be linked to sort of living conditions,
stress, things like that. In both of those together, increase the risk
of offspring smoking, more particularly in the daughters. Moms who smoke tend to be less educated, have
unplanned pregnancy, living in poorer conditions, and anything, we as a society, can do to sort
of help the living conditions of pregnant, of poor pregnant mother, I think it’s a double
hit. And if you’re poor and stressed, you’re more
likely to smoke to kind of relieve some of the stress. So anything we can do to help moms – poor
young moms of reproductive age – both to quit smoking and to improve their living conditions.