Babies Are Passive Smokers, Study Finds

Babies Are Passive Smokers, Study Finds

A recent British study found that babies with parents who smoke have up to 5.5 times higher levels of a nicotine by-product in their bodies compared to babies of nonsmokers. The by-product, cotinine, is considered a toxin. The presence of significant levels of cotinine in the babies' urine confirmed the dangers of passive smoking for infants.

One or Both Parents Smoking Is a Risk

Researchers at the University of Leicester Medical School and Warwick University studied 104 twelve-week-old infants and released the findings today online prior to the study's publication in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. Seventy-one of the infants had at least one parent who smoked, and the other 33 infants lived in non-smoking homes.

Cotinine, a Toxin By-Product of Nicotine

Cotinine is created in the body as it tries to rid itself of the nicotine in inhaled tobacco smoke. The study's cotinine data showed that having a father who smokes doubled the cotinine levels in the babies' urine compared to babies of nonsmokers, and having a mother who smokes quadrupled the cotinine levels.

Infants Become Passive Smokers

"Our findings clearly show that by accumulating cotinine, babies become heavy passive smokers secondary to the active smoking of parents," stated the study's authors. They also found that increased cotinine levels were associated with (a) having a baby sleep in the same room with his or her parents and (b) lower-temperature rooms, especially in the winter season. The authors noted, "Babies affected by smoke tend to come from poorer homes, which may have smaller rooms and inadequate heating."


Has your child been harmed by passive cigarette smoking?
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