Prenatal and Postnatal Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Children's Health

Joseph R. DiFranza, C. Andrew Aligne, Michael Weitzman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


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, neuro-cognitive 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1015
Number of pages9
Issue number4 II
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Otitis media
  • Prenatal
  • SIDS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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