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Smoking during pregnancy can harm baby’s brain

During pregnancy smoking contributes to significant problems in utero and after the birth problems like low birth weight and attentional difficulties.

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New York- During pregnancy, mothers who smoke are at risk of metal disorders in their babies, warns a study.

According to the study, higher maternal nicotine level in the mother’s blood increased the odds 38 percent of having schizophrenia among their offsring.

Nicotine readily crosses the placenta into the foetal bloodstream, specifically targets foetal brain development, causing short- and long-term changes in cognition and potentially contributes to other neuro-developmental abnormalities.

“To our knowledge, this is the first biomarker-based study to show a relationship between foetal nicotine exposure and schizophrenia,” said senior author Alan Brown from Columbia University’s medical centre in the US.

“We employed a nationwide sample with the highest number of schizophrenia cases to date in a study of this type,” Brown added in the paper published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The team examined nearly 1,000 cases of schizophrenia and matched controls among offspring born in Finland from 1983-1998, who were ascertained from the country’s national registry.

The findings persisted after adjusting for important confounding factors including maternal and parental psychiatric history, socio-economic status and maternal age.

smoking pregnant lady outside hospital
smoking pregnant lady outside hospital

Heavy smoking based on cotinine, a reliable marker of nicotine in maternal sera, was reported by 20 percent of the mothers of cases, but only 14.7 percent of the mothers of controls.

During pregnancy smoking contributes to significant problems in utero and after the birth problems like low birth weight and attentional difficulties.

“These findings underscore the value of ongoing public health education on the potentially debilitating and largely preventable, consequences that smoking may have on children over time,” Brown noted.

The study also showed that the mother who smoked during pregnancy have an increased risk of bipolar disorder after giving birth.(IANS)

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  • AJ Krish

    Some sacrifices are a must ,if the health of the mother and the baby are at stake.Hope they realise it really soon.

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Japan Bans Smoking Inside Public Facilities, Seen By Critics as Pointless

The upper house approved and enacted the bill into law Wednesday after it was approved earlier by the lower house

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Japan
The law will be implemented in phases through April 2020. VOA

Japan on Wednesday approved its first national legislation banning smoking inside public facilities, but the watered-down measure excludes many restaurants and bars and is seen by critics as toothless.

The legislation aims to lower secondhand smoking risks ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid international calls for a smoke-free event. But ruling party lawmakers with strong ties to the tobacco and restaurant industries opted for a weakened version.

The upper house approved and enacted the bill into law Wednesday after it was approved earlier by the lower house.

Last month, Tokyo separately enacted a stricter ordinance banning smoking at all eateries that have employees, to protect them from secondhand smoke. The ordinance will cover about 84 percent of Tokyo restaurants and bars.

But the law still allows many exceptions and the Tokyo Games may not be fully smoke-free.

Japan often has been called a smokers’ paradise. Until now it has had no binding law controlling secondhand smoke and ranked among the least protected countries by the World Health Organization. That has brought pressure from international Olympic officials.

The new national law bans indoor smoking at schools, hospitals and government offices. Smoking will be allowed at existing small eateries, including those with less than 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) of customer space, which includes more than half of Japanese establishments. Larger and new eateries must limit smoking to designated rooms.

Violators can face fines of up to 300,000 yen ($2,700) for smokers and up to 500,000 yen ($4,500) for facility managers.

The law will be implemented in phases through April 2020.

Japan
The new national law bans indoor smoking at schools, hospitals and government offices. Pixabay

‘Too lenient’

The law allowing smoking at more than half of Japan’s restaurants as exceptions is inadequate, said Hiroyasu Muramatsu, a doctor serving on Tokyo’s anti-smoking committee. “The law is too lenient compared to international standards,” he told Japan’s NHK public television. “We need a full smoking ban.”

The health ministry’s initial draft bill called for stricter measures but faced opposition from lawmakers sympathetic to the restaurant industry. The government also was viewed as opposed to harsher measures because the former monopoly Japan Tobacco is still partly state-owned.

In Japan, almost a fifth of adults still smoke. The rate for men in their 30s to 50s is nearly twice as high, according to a government survey last year.

Also Read: Passive Smoking May Spike up Snoring Risk in Kids

Most office workers now light up only in smoking rooms or outdoors, and cities are gradually imposing limits on outdoor smoking in public areas. But most restaurants and bars in Japan allow smoking, making them the most common public source of secondhand smoke.

“Secondhand smoking has been largely considered an issue of the manners, but it’s not,” Kazuo Hasegawa, 47, a nonsmoker who has developed lung cancer, told NHK. “It’s about health hazards. It harms people. And I don’t want younger generations to have to suffer like me.”

In Japan, about 15,000 people, mainly women and children, die annually as a result of secondhand smoke, according to government and WHO estimates. (VOA)