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Originally published January 9 2010

Tobacco smoke causes behavior problems in children

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has revealed that children who are exposed to cigarette smoke prenatally and during the first year of their life are likely to develop behavioral problems by the time they are of school age. Particularly problematic during the gestational years, tobacco smoke can more than double the risk of childhood behavior problems.

Scientists from Germany analyzed children whose mothers smoked while they were in the womb as well as children who were exposed to second hand smoke following their birth up until their first birthday. The children who were only exposed prenatally were 90 percent more likely to develop behavioral problems compared to children whose mothers did not smoke at all. Children who were exposed only after birth had a 30-percent higher risk. Children exposed both prenatally and after birth had a double risk of developing abnormal behavior problems.

In order to isolate the true cause of behavioral problems, scientists crafted a detailed questionnaire that aimed to eliminate possible biases that would have altered results, such as external social and environmental factors. When all was said and done, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, and social interaction problems were among the primary setbacks observed in the tobacco-exposed children.

Because the negative effects of tobacco smoke were found to be the greatest during fetal development, scientists see an undeniable link between tobacco and developmental problems. The formative years of a child's growth and maturation are severely upset by the presence of tobacco, something scientists hope every mother and prospective mother will consider.

Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

This is an interesting study, but it may not prove what you think it proves. It appears to prove that tobacco smoke leads to behavior problems in children, right?

But what it really might be demonstrating is that children raised by parents who smoke in the house (which is, by any assessment, an incredibly stupid thing to do) have behavior problems.

In other words, this study may have more to do with really bad parenting than tobacco smoke. Even if parents smoke, the ones who really care about their own children will smoke outside the house, thereby making sure their indoor air environment is smoke free.

I've met lots of parents who smoke and yet they take steps to shield their children from secondhand smoke because they obviously don't want their children to pick up the habit or suffer the health consequences.

That's actually a very compassionate approach. Smokers can be responsible people, too. They may not be able to beat their own addiction, but at least they can try to prevent it from harming those around them -- especially their children.

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