Children’s exposure to tobacco constituents during fetal development and via environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure is perhaps the most ubiquitous and hazardous of children’s environmental exposures. A large literature links both prenatal maternal smoking and children’s ETS exposure to decreased lung growth and increased rates of respiratory tract infections, otitis media, and childhood asthma, with the severity of these problems increasing with increased exposure. Sudden infant death syndrome, behavioral problems, neurocognitive decrements, and increased rates of adolescent smoking also are associated with such exposures. Studies of each of these problems suggest independent effects of both pre- and postnatal exposure for each, with the respiratory risk associated with parental smoking seeming to be greatest during fetal development and the first several years of life.
- Received October 7, 2003.
- Accepted October 20, 2003.
- Copyright © 2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics