Yet another chapter in the mammoth and irrefutable body of evidence on the harms of smoking comes from new research on the relationship between expectant mothers’ cigarette habits and the academic success of their offspring: Yale University researchers have found a demonstrative gap between the reading abilities in the children of women who smoked during their pregnancies and the children of women who refrained from the unhealthy habit.
Indeed the Yale researchers found that the children of a large sampling of British women who smoked more than a pack of cigarettes a day during pregnancy struggled with reading comprehension on assessment tests that evaluated their skills as they read aloud.
The researchers say the study suggests a strong relationship between the environmental impacts of smoking on the genetic trait of phonological ability.
“It’s not a little difference—it’s a big difference in accuracy and comprehension at a critical time when children are being assessed and are getting a sense of what it means to be successful,” Dr. Jeffrey Gruen, a professor of genetics and pediatrics at Yale said in a university news release.
The findings were published recently in the journal Pediatrics.