A recent Danish study adds to the growing body of evidence linking maternal smoking with antisocial behaviour in their offspring.
Data from a cohort of over 4000 men and their mothers found that the more cigarettes that mothers smoked during pregnancy, the higher their sons' risk of violent crimes. Mothers who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day in late pregnancy doubled their sons' risk of arrest for violent crime, compared with children of non smoking mothers (Gen Psychiatry, 1999; 56: 223-4).
l Another study links smoking in pregnancy to the potentially fatal condition, placental abruption. A meta analysis of studies which involved over a million pregnancies found that smoking almost doubled the risk of the placenta peeling away from the uterine wall, prematurely placing the baby's life at risk. The researchers estimated that between 15 and 25 per cent of abruptions are caused by smoking (Ob Gyn, 1999; 93: 622-8).