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Pregnant Smokers, Violent Kids

As if you need one more reason to avoid those nasties…
Smoking during pregnancy leads to offspring with more physically violent behavior.  I’m guessing it’s their way of saying later: “Mama! What the heck were you thinking?!”

University of Montreal psychiatry professor Dr. Jean Séguin said of the findings,

It affects the nervous system of the children in many ways, and this is one of them. It makes the kid harder to manage.

The research was part of a behavioral study of 1,745 Quebecer kids between the ages of 18 months and 3½ years.  Antisocial behavior—biting, kicking, hitting, and bullying—was reported at a higher rate by mothers who had smoked 10 or more cigarettes daily during their pregnancies.
Even when adjustments were made for factors such as divorce, mothers’ level of education, and age at the time of conception, smoking played a big part in aggression.

This same kind of behavior, not surprisingly, was also linked to mothers who had their own run-ins with the law.

Mothers-to-be whose lives have been marked by anti-social behaviour have a 67 percent chance to have a physically aggressive child if they smoke 10 cigarettes a day while pregnant, compared with 16 percent for those who are non-smokers or who smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day.

So, that time you got arrested for streaking: will it come back to haunt you? Will you have an angry tot? Not exactly, says Dr. Séguin.  More research needs to be done.

If premature birth, low birth weight, the SIDs risk, and respiratory illnesses aren’t enough to sway you, maybe the threat of a bullying child will be the kick in the head you need to put down that cig.

Image: Joan Thewlis on Flikr under a Creative Commons License.


  1. Interesting study! When I was an Army wife and pregnant with my oldest, somehow the subject of smoking during pregnancy came up. I was surprised at the time to hear how many of the soldiers’ moms had smoked while pregnant with them. Granted this was during the 1970’s but even back then my mom has said that OB’s were advising smokers to stop at least for the duration of the pregnancy.


  1. […] seem to affect a child’s intelligence one way or another, though last week I blogged about a study that showed bad behavior for kids whose mothers smoked while they were in the womb.  So maybe they’re simply smarter criminal […]

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