Mums who smoke during pregnancy increase child's smoking risk

Exposure to nicotine in the womb may increase the risk of smoking in later life, research suggests.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki, Finland, found prenatal exposure to nicotine among mice increases the vulnerability to nicotine self-administration as adolescents.

The findings, published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, suggest adolescent humans with prenatal nicotine exposure are more likely to start smoking earlier than their peers.

Furthermore, they may also be more susceptible to the addictive effects of nicotine, especially as a result of stress and peer pressure.

Researchers saw that when nicotine was added to drinking water of pregnant mice during the prenatal period it increased the frequency of self-administration in the offspring compared to the control group, even at lower doses.

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