Heavy maternal smoking linked to higher risk of children developing COPD as adults

Heavy maternal smoking linked to higher risk of children developing COPD as adul

A latest study carried out by University of Melbourne medical experts has suggested that heavy maternal smoking could be linked with elevated risk of children contracting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during adulthood.

The medical team behind the study, led by Jennifer Perret, noticed that heavy smoking - over 20 cigarettes per day - by mothers puts kids at elevated risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The experts reached at the conclusion after examining 1,400 adults.

The March 10 issue of the journal Respirology carried the detailed results of the study. COPD is an illness that becomes worse with the passage of time, and mainly compromises the ability of a person to breathe.


The symptoms of COPD include, coughing that generates huge amounts of mucus, wheezing, breath shortness, chest tightness, among others. Cigarette smoking is one of the main causes of COPD.

Dr. Perret said, “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”.

As per Dr. Perret, the study findings aren’t astonishing. Mothers, who smoke a lot, have been making their children vulnerable to a number of long term health problems. Secondhand smoke has also been associated with numerous other illnesses. The participants of the study had 2.7 times more chances of suffering from COPD in case their mother was heavy smoker.

The American Lung Association suggested that in the United States more than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD. But, American Lung Association has put the estimated toll of undiagnosed COPD sufferers in the US at 24 million.

Dr. Perret and her team members, reached on a conclusion that as nearly 40% children have at least a smoker parent across the world, this is suggestive that the long-term lung function consequences of maternal smoking exposure are now critical.


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