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Are Nicotine Dangers Overstated?

Are Nicotine Dangers Overstated?


For years, research has shown that there is a connection between prenatal exposure to nicotine and behavior problems in children, but an Indiana University study suggests that these problems are caused by environmental factors that increase the probability of both maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring problems, not the specific effects of prenatal exposures. The study, published in the journal Development and Psychopathology, investigated the association between mothers who smoke during pregnancy and the occurrence of attention deficit hyperactivity problems, oppositional-defiant problems, and conduct problems in their offspring. Sampling data from a national survey of women and their children, the study found that when siblings differed in levels of exposure to prenatal nicotine, the offspring did not differ in conduct or oppositional-defiant problems. Brian D'Onofrio, assistant professor in IU Bloomington's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, said the study suggests that family factors not observed in previous research are responsible for some of the problems in children previously thought to be caused by smoking during pregnancy. The study, titled 'Smoking During Pregnancy and Offspring Externalizing Problems: An Exploration of Genetic and Environmental Confounds,' did find a connection between smoking during pregnancy and attention deficit hyperactivity problems, but much smaller than previously thought.

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