Kids who are exposed to tobacco smoke during their early development can develop abnormal behavioural symptoms by the age of ten years, a new study has said.
The study was conducted by scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München in collaboration with researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munich, Technische Universitat München and Marienhospital Wesel.
They observed that the impact of tobacco smoke was especially detrimental during gestation.
"We were able to show that children who are exposed to tobacco smoke prenatally and during the first years of life have a higher risk of developing abnormal behavioural symptoms when they are of school age," said Dr. Joachim Heinrich of the Institute of Epidemiology at Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen.
"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," Heinrich added.
The study showed that kids who were only exposed to tobacco smoke prenatally have a 1.9 times higher risk of developing abnormal behavioural symptoms in comparison to children without any exposure.
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 behavioural symptoms.
Such symptoms include hyperactivity, attention deficits or problems in their relationships with peers.
The results of the study were independent of affects from the social environment in which the children were growing up.
The study has been published in the current online issue of the renowned journal Environmental Health Perspectives.