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Maternal Smoking Damages Children in Many Ways

It affects kids' breathing and tendency to start smoking or have trouble quitting

FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Mothers who smoke appear to damage the lung function of their children in at least three major ways.

A British study of 2,000 adult children from 1,477 families who took part in a smoking study from 1972 to 1976 concluded that maternal smoking: lowers children's lung function, whether the children themselves smoke or not; and was associated with greater smoking intensity in children and less ability to quit by those children who have started smoking.

The researchers also found that smoking by mothers seemed to combine with their children's smoking to increase the likelihood of those children developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Among children who were smokers or former smokers, the risk of COPD increased 1.7 per 10 cigarettes per day of smoking by their mothers.

The results of the research are published in the current issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

More information

The American Lung Association has more information about secondhand smoke and your family.

SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, Feb. 18, 2004
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