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Smoking in Pregnancy Tied to Poor Reading Skills in Kids: Study

A new research study shows that children from mothers that smoked one or more packs of cigarettes a day while pregnant have poorer reading skills than other children, and by a significant amount.

It appears that there is a significant lag in reading in comprehension in such kids—a 21 percent lag!

This comes from data from over 5,000 kids aged 7 and 9, who were compared with their peers in a series of tests of reading and comprehension.

This is a disconcerting finding as this is a time in a child’s life when they are starting to be influenced by peer and are discovering that there are attributes of success, and that intelligence is one of them. 

The effect is readily seen in children that have an underlying speech disorder.  Speech and reading are traits that are apparently readily passed along through parents’ genes.  It is long suspected that smoking causes birth defects through the mutation of genes.

While the study did find a strong association between maternal smoking and children's reading skills, the study could not prove cause-and-effect, as correlational studies do not imply causation. 

None the less, when such statistical significance is found, you as a consumer or parent must at least pay attention and decide what is best for you in collaboration with your doctor.

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, Nov. 19, 2012

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