Women who smoke during pregnancy more likely to have children who commit crimes < Go Back

An Australian study has found that women who smoke while they are pregnant are more likely to give birth to children at risk of engaging in criminal behaviour before hitting their teenage years.

Silhouette of a pregnant woman who has switched to e-cigs

The research looked at the behaviour of 12 and 13 year old children in around 5000 Australian families, also taking into account factors such as birth complications, education level, personality, and their parents’ age, education and parenting style. Results showed that smoking frequently or occasionally during pregnancy was one of the “significant risk factors” for children engaging in criminal activity.

The study, carried out by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), also discovered and highlighted other factors, including living in a deprived area, attention problems at age 4-5, peer problems by age 11 and higher levels of harsh parenting, all linked with high levels of criminal behaviour. Criminal behaviour includes behaviour such as damaging property, playing truant, fighting and stealing; these are the most common forms.

In total, however, only around 10 percent of 12-13 year olds are involved in delinquent or anti-social behaviour, with the study stressing that those at risk do not necessarily become young offenders.

If you are currently a smoker and plan to have a baby, why not avoid the numerous complications associated with pregnancy and smoking and switch to e-cigs? E-cigarettes simulate the look and feel of smoking a real cigarette without many of the harmful chemicals found in traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Image: Mahalie Stackpole, available under Creative Commons