Smoking cigarettes with a bun in the oven increases the risk of miscarriage, complications during pregnancy, low birth weight and obesity for baby later in life. Now, a new study from Denmark found that it can also lead to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Even smoking cessation solutions could have an effect since nicotine is the culprit, and that means that patches and gum are harmful too. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers looked at the medical records of more than 85,000 children born in Denmark and found signs of ADHD present in a little more than 2,000 children. The numbers were lower among kids of nonsmoking parents but were highest among kids in households in which both parents smoked.
Although what causes ADHD is not entirely known, experts say it does have a genetic component. Those with the disorder are more likely to smoke as well, which could have factored into the results. But it’s also possible that nicotine and byproducts of cigarette smoke, like carbon monoxide, can cause defects in the brain.
Experts advise quitting tobacco as soon as you are trying to conceive. If you must use nicotine-cessation methods, use them as little as possible. On the positive side, smoking before pregnancy doesn’t seem to boost the risk of ADHD.
ADHD affects up to 11 percent of school-aged children. Symptoms include being fidgety, restless, impulsive and hyperactive. Children with ADHD can affect children socially as well as academically, causing them to have a hard time paying attention or waiting their turn. ADHD can also lead to depression. If you think your child has ADHD, talk to a pediatrician. There are several types of therapy that can help.