Keep kids away from crime, don’t smoke during pregnancy

Women who smoke 20 cigarettes a day during pregnancy risk their child turning to crime later in life.
The children of such mothers were more likely to become repeat offenders when they grew up, say researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Keep kids away from crime dont smoke during pregnancy 300x278 Keep kids away from crime, dont smoke during pregnancyThe study looked at factors such as mental ill-health and deprivation, which are known to put children on the path to criminal careers, according to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Even after these have been taken into account, the offspring of heavy smokers are a third more likely to have ever been arrested as adults, reports the Daily Mail.
This suggests exposure to cigarette smoke in the womb may harm developing areas of the brain that affect behaviour, impairing the transmission of chemical signals important for attention and impulse control.
The research, led by Angela Paradis of Harvard School, is based on 4,000 adults, who were followed until they were aged between 33 and 40 years.
Mothers were enrolled in the study between 1959 and 1966, and information collected on their smoking habits during pregnancy. Heavy smokers were classified as those smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day.
In 1999-2000, when all the children from these pregnancies had reached at least 33 years of age, the researchers checked them for criminal records.
The findings showed that children whose mothers had smoked heavily during the pregnancy were the most likely to have a criminal record as an adult.
They had a 30 per cent increased chance of having been arrested, and this applied to women just as much as it did to men even though statistically women are less likely to obtain a criminal record.

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