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Higher Risk of Asthma for Babies Whose Fathers Smoked
- Updated: September 8, 2014
According to the European Lung Foundation, babies could have an increased risk of developing asthma if their fathers smoked before conception. For years, there have been concerns associated with fathers smoking and unborn children but it was not until the findings from a recent study were released that researchers had hard evidence.
In this study, researchers were able to analyze for the first time the link between childhood asthma and fathers who smoked prior to conception. The research, which was presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in Germany, found there is in fact a connection between a father smoking before conception and childhood asthma.
This study consisted of more than 13,000 women and men who were required to complete a questionnaire. Researchers analyzed the answers, looking for links in both mothers and fathers who smoked and the number of years they smoked before conception with the number of children who developed asthma. Also taken into consideration was whether mothers or fathers had stopped smoking before conceiving a baby.
The result of this in-depth analysis was that non-allergic asthma was far more common in children whose father smoked before conception. If the father smoked prior to age 15 and smoked for a long period of time, risk of developing asthma increased even more. However, the study did not reveal any link with mothers smoking before conception and children developing asthma.
According to Dr. Cecile Svanes from the University of Bergen, Norway, This is a critical study, being the first time smoking habits of fathers prior to conception have been used to determine the effect of children’s respiratory health. Dr. Svanes continues by saying that with the study’s results, experts can assume that any type of harmful exposure to include chemical, occupational, and air pollution would be detrimental to children.
As such, Dr. Svanes and other researchers connected with the study feel there is an incredible opportunity at hand to get policymakers to focus more on interventions that specifically target young men. In addition, they hope to urge policymakers to warn young men about the potential dangers of smoking, not just for themselves, but future children.