Smoking During Pregnancy Affects Children's Vasculature

And, interventions that encourage parents to quit smoking for children's benefit may up quit rates

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Parental smoking during pregnancy affects children's arterial structure and function in early life; and interventions that encourage parents to quit smoking for their children's benefit may increase parental quit rates, according to two studies published online Dec. 26 in Pediatrics.

Caroline C. Geerts, M.D., from the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues investigated the correlation between parental smoking during pregnancy and subsequent vascular properties in their 5-year-old children. Carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) and arterial wall distensibility were measured in 259 children, and their parents' smoking data were recorded. After multivariate adjustment, CIMT was significantly thicker (18.8 µm), and distensibility significantly lower (15 percent) in children whose mothers had smoked throughout pregnancy. The strongest associations were seen when both parents smoked, while children whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy, but had smoked thereafter, showed no associations.

Laura J. Rosen, Ph.D., from Tel Aviv University in Israel, and colleagues reviewed available literature published before April 2011 to quantify the effects of interventions that encouraged parental smoking cessation for the benefit of their children. Parental quite rates were successfully increased by interventions, to an average of 23.1 percent compared with 18.4 percent in the control group. Significant intervention benefits were seen in subgroups with children aged 4 to 17 years; and for interventions with a primary goal of cessation, which offered medications, and which had high rates of follow-up.

"Some parents will quit smoking to benefit their children. Policy makers should recommend effective interventions that counsel parents to quit for the benefit of the children," Rosen and colleagues write.

Abstract - Geerts
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Abstract - Rosen
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