Smoking during pregnancy can cause health problems, such as asthma, not just for the newborn, but also, for successive generations, including grandchildren and great grandchildren, a new study has revealed.
The study, conducted by Dr Virender Rehan, a physician of Indian origin, is scheduled to be published in the BMC Medicine, later this month.
"While it is widely known that woman's exposure to smoking during pregnancy can pose health problems for the offspring, including childhood asthma, our present study for the first time, unequivocally establishes that this risk is not restricted only to those who are exposed during pregnancy, but is also a health risk for subsequent generations even without any further exposure," Rehan told HT.
Rehan, who completed his MD in pediatrics from New Delhi, went for further specialisation in neonatology in the UK, Canada and the US.
Currently, he is a professor of pediatrics and the director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California.
He was awarded a two-year $377,220 (Rs. 1,994.36 crore) grant by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to conduct a study that could potentially lead to effective treatments and prevent asthma, a major health challenge worldwide.