Children of mothers who smoke are at an increased risk of suffering respiratory disorders even if they don't smoke, revealed a new study.
The study was led by Jennifer Perret, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Air Quality and Evaluation in the Melbourne School of Population & Global Health at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
‘Heavy maternal smoking has been linked to higher risk of children developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during adult age.’
The team examined 1,400 adults of which 40% of participants had mothers who smoked while 17% mothers were heavy smokers. Nearly 60 grew up with smoking fathers, 34% of whom were heavy smokers.
The participants were subjected to lung-function tests and they found that those who grew up with mothers who smoked heavily were 2.7 times more likely than others to have a kind of lung impairment that is indicative of COPD. But the risk reduced in participants whose parents were not heavy smokers.
Dr.Perret said, "Smoking in later life can result in deficits in lung function by middle age. So it was not unexpected to see that mothers' smoking could also adversely influence the growing lungs of their children."
The study also found that boys were more vulnerable than girls to respiratory disorders. The reason is not definite, but authors believe that nicotine might affect the male and female fetus differently because of the gender variance in lung size and lung growth.
Dr.Perret and her team concluded, "As almost 40 percent of children have at least one parent who smokes worldwide, clarifying the long-term lung function consequences of maternal smoking exposure is now crucial."