By Staff Writer
Despite the known risks of cigarettes, many people continue their smoking habits. However, the findings of a new study may be enough to convince expectant mothers to seek substance abuse treatment to help them quit.
Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Investigators said that newborns are two to five times more likely to die shortly after birth if their mother smoked.
The investigation team found that the nicotine in cigarette smoke may interfere with the development of parts of newborns’ brains that are responsible for respiration. When these areas don’t fully form, children are more likely to stop breathing and die.
The study’s lead author said that the findings underscore the importance of developing public health policies that encourage women to give up their habit. He said that educational efforts should begin at a young age, especially ones that warn girls of dangers that smoking may pose to their unborn babies.
Additionally, he encouraged addiction treatment for women who are unable to quit.