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Heavy Smoking During Pregnancy Linked To Kids Becoming Repeat Criminals

Wed, November 17, 2010 9:00am EDT by 14 Comments

Here’s another reason to kick cigarettes to the curb. Scientists have discovered that children whose mothers smoked heavily during pregnancy were the most likely to have a criminal record as an adult. The chance of being arrested was actually 30 percent higher for them than for kids with nonsmoking moms!

Anyone who’s every seen a pack of cigarettes knows that the Surgeon General warns that smoking while pregnant is extremely harmful to a fetus. Now a new study done as part of the Collaborative Perinatal Project shows that people whose mothers smoked 20 or more cigarettes a day were 30 percent more likely to have a criminal record as adults, regardless of whether they’re male or female. And even worse, they were extremely likely to be repeat offenders!

The scientists used data on 3766 adults, aged 33 to 40 years. Their mothers were involved in the study between 1959 and 1966 and when all children from these pregnancies reached the age of 33 years, in 1999/2000, their criminal records were verified.

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What is it about the cigs that causes criminal tendencies? The scientists discovered that nicotine (the addictive drug in cigarettes) has an adverse affect on the neurological behavior of babies’ developing brains. Early studies revealed a link between pregnant woman being exposed to cigarette smoke and their offspring having impulsive tendencies as well as poor attention span and hyperactivity.

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If you’re a smoker, HollyMoms, I hope this new information gives you the push you need to toss your pack in the trash. I quit my pack-a-day habit cold turkey two years ago. It wasn’t easy, but after reading this, I know it was the best thing I could have ever done.

–Amy L. Harper

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