Mothers Smoking Causes Lifelong Damage to Childrens Lungs

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Mothers Smoking Causes Lifelong Damage to Childrens Lungs

February 15, 2004 “ A report published today showed that smoking by mothers adversely affected their children's lifelong lung health.


The University of Glasgow study built upon an earlier population study conducted in the 1970's that identified parents who were smokers.  About 25 years later, 3,202 adults who were children of these smoking parents were studied.

Their lung health had been affected by their mothers' smoking in at least three ways.

Firstly, their lung volumes were lower, regardless of whether or not they themselves had smoked.

Secondly, offspring of smoking mothers tended to be heavier smokers and were less likely to quit smoking.

Thirdly, there was increased airflow limitation in the lungs of adult smokers whose mothers had also smoked “ in excessive of the expected airflow limitation caused by their personal smoking.

This study is just one more example of the need to be smoke-free and the need to protect children from tobacco smoke, said Paul Van Loon, a Health Educator for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.

Children of smoking mothers are at greater risk of developing respiratory infections and asthma.

The damage caused by tobacco use is both extensive and variable, adds Van Loon.  As more longer term studies are done, we learn more and more about how children are impacted by exposure to tobacco smoke.

Airflow limitation is one of the symptoms of COPD, which stands for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.  COPD is already the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and is forecast to be the third leading cause of death in the world by 2020.

Although we can't predict which individual smokers will develop COPD, we do know that 15% of those who start smoking will eventually develop COPD about 30 years later, said Jan Haffner who manages the Lung Association's BreathWorks program to help people with COPD.

Knowing that maternal smoking is a risk factor for COPD might be helpful in earlier identification of COPD, adds Haffner.

The Lung Association is Canada's oldest health charity, helping Canadians to breathe easier since 1900.  We are a non-profit, non-governmental organization that relies on donations from the public and our annual Breath of Spring Tulip Campaign to fund our many programs and activities.  You will find the Lung Association active in your community conducting programs on asthma, COPD and sleep apnea, providing training for health professionals, delivering health education in schools, facilitating patient support groups, and lobbying for clean air.  The Lung Association is the premier source for respiratory health initiatives in the province.

For more information contact:

Jan Hafner, BPT
Vice President of Health Initiatives
Saskatoon residents: 343-9511
Outside Saskatoon: 1-888-566-LUNG (5864)


When you can't breathe, nothing else matters.ТÐ






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Page Last Updated: 15/02/2004