It’s widely known that smoking while pregnant is not good for the fetus. Now research shows that even secondhand smoke can have detrimental effects on a baby in the womb. These effects can create lifelong problems for the child.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Nursing School studied hundreds of women and children in China. Why China? Almost three-quarters of the male population smokes. In other words, there’s a lot of secondhand smoke in the air.
A quarter of the subjects’ children were found to have developmental and behavioral problems. That’s about 10-percent higher than in children whose mothers were not exposed to as much secondhand smoke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke has more than 70 chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Inhaling it, even for a short time, causes cell damage that can lead to the development of cancer. They report that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also know as "crib death", is linked to secondhand smoke.
The CDC says asthma, respiratory infections and ear problems in young children are just some of the other health problems that can be brought on by secondhand smoke.
The Penn study finds that pregnant women who were exposed to secondhand smoke have children who are greater risk for aggressive behavior, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), language skill deficiencies and overall intelligence issues.