Risk of having chronic lung disease is almost three times higher when mothers smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day.
Heavy smoking mothers are putting kids at high risk of a chronic lung disease later in their life.
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New research has found that children of mothers who smoke heavily – more than 20 cigarettes per day – face three times increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as adults.
COPD is a progressive disease that makes it difficult to breathe. Smoking cigarettes is by far the most common reason people get COPD. Even if they don’t smoke themselves, they can get disease from living with a smoker like their mothers.
To find a link between COPD and heavy maternal smoking, researchers reviewed surveys of around 6000 adults who participated in a long study stretching back to 1968. The surveys were filled up in 2004.
Nearly 40% of the participants lived with a mother who smoked and 17% reported that their mothers were heavy smokers. About two-third of the participants had a history of asthma while 4 out of 10 said they never smoked themselves. Participants also underwent lung function testing between 2007 and 2008.
Researchers found that those who grew up with a heavy smoking mother were threefold more susceptible to the kind of lung impairment that is associated with COPD while those children were at less risk of the disease whose mother or fathers were moderate smoker or who smoke less than 20 cigarettes per day.
“The findings were not surprising to us,” said lead author Jennifer Perret from University of Melbourne, Australia.
“Smoking in later life can result in deficits in lung function by middle age. So’ it was not unexpected to see that mother’s smoking… could also adversely influence the growing lungs of (their children).”
COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 15 million people have been diagnosed with COPD but numbers are likely to rise since many of the people are not aware of having the disease.
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Although the study shows no direct link between COPD and heavy smoking, but still it hints on some sort of association. Perret says. “As there may be a combined effect with other smoking and environmental exposures, it would be advisable for them not to smoke and avoid smoky, dusty and polluted environments where possible.”