Despite the fact that some people avoid the evidence as much as anti-vaxxers or global warming doubters ignore concrete scientific data, there has been conclusive data tying smoking to lung cancer since the surgeon general issued his warning in 1964. Since then, numerous studies have been tying the unhealthy habit to a wide range of afflictions.
One of the most recent studies of this type stems from the University of Melbourne, as the team of Australian researchers performed a meta-analysis showing that COPD risk triples if mother smoked while pregnant. The researchers were fully expecting the results they got.
According to the American Lung Association, as many as eleven million Americans have been diagnosed with a certain disease that makes it difficult to breathe – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is often linked to smoking in the victim, but researchers just found a link that goes even more deeply than that.
The study shows that children growing up with smoking mothers have a far higher chance of developing the illness. Even more incriminating, smokers that started the habit in adulthood and had mothers that smoked while pregnant had a threefold increased risk of developing the disease.
According to the study published on March 11,
Heavy maternal smoking during childhood appears to predispose to spirometrically defined COPD. The interplay between maternal and personal smoking on gas transfer factor suggests that early life exposure increases an individual’s susceptibility to adult smoking exposure.
These findings provide further evidence to suggest that maternal smoking might be a risk factor for COPD and reinforce the public health message advocating smoking abstinence.
For the study, the team performed a meta-analysis, following the medical records of 1,389 participants for more than fifty years. The results showed the chances of smokers growing up with smoker parents going up three times, while non-smokers were associated with smaller lung volumes.
Aside from the fact that the study should come as another incentive for young and pregnant mothers to give up the nasty habit for the sake of their children, the results also showed something that wasn’t really tested before all that much – that a combination of passive and active smoking can be more dangerous than a either passive or active smoking by themselves.
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).
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