Women likely to miscarry if exposed to cigarette smoke

December 6th, 2008 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 6 (IANS) Women exposed to cigarette smoke, either as adults or children, are more likely to face fertility problems and suffer miscarriages. An analysis of more than 4,800 non-smoking women showed those who were exposed to cigarette smoke six or more hours a day as children and adults, faced a 68 percent greater chance of facing difficulties in getting pregnant and suffering one or more miscarriages.

“These statistics are breathtaking and certainly point to yet another danger of second hand smoke exposure,” said Luke J. Peppone, assistant professor at Rochester University’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Centre.

In the study, four out of five women reported exposure to second hand smoke during their lifetime. Half of the women grew up in a home with parents who smoked and nearly two-thirds of them were exposed to some second hand smoking at the time of the survey.

More than 40 percent of these women had difficulty getting pregnant (infertility lasting more than a year) or suffered miscarriages, some repeatedly, according to a Rochester release.

“We all know that cigarettes and second hand smoke are dangerous. Breathing the smoke has lasting effects, especially for women when they’re ready for children,” said Peppone, who analysed information in the Patient Epidemiology Data System, a well-studied resource that has yielded information on a variety of cancers.

Peppone analysed surveys collected from 4,804 women who visited Roswell Park Cancer Institute for health screenings or cancer care from 1982-1998.

Each participant in this study reported that they had never smoked, and had been pregnant at least once or tried to become pregnant.

Participants reported whether one or both of their parents smoked and if they lived with or worked with smokers as adults. They also estimated the amount of time they were exposed to second hand smoke.

Many of the women in the study grew up in the 1940s and 1950s, long before the surgeon general issued the first warning about the dangers of cigarette smoking in 1964.

The study was published online in Tobacco Control.

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