There are various health risks to the unborn child if a pregnant woman is exposed to smoke, including causing birth defects. The effects can linger long after birth as well. Recently, a research found that smoke exposure can lead to asthma risks too. The team conducted a study on 376 newborns and obtained detailed information from parents about smoking exposure during pregnancy and in the home at three and 15 months of age.
Data for demographics, wheezing, and asthma were obtained from yearly questionnaires up to age six. Lead author Dr Philip Pattemore from the University of Otago Christchurch, in New Zealand said hair nicotine increased with number of smokers, daily cigarettes smoked at home and was also strongly associated with smoking in pregnancy.
Although overall the hair nicotine levels in the participants were relatively low, higher levels of hair nicotine were associated with increased risk of wheeze and, though not significant, of asthma at 15 months of age. However, at older ages the associations were non-significant. The research appears in journal of Pediatric Pulmonology.