Q&A

Can other people’s cigarette smoke can be as harmful to your fetus as if you were lighting up yourself? Find out here.

Q: I’m pregnant and don’t smoke, but people around me do. Should I be concerned? A: Yes, says Stephen G. Grant, Ph.D., an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of Pittsburgh. Studies on how secondhand smoke affects pregnant women have produced conflicting results, but Grant’s new analysis shows that other people’s cigarette smoke can be just as harmful to the fetus as your own smoking. Both produce the same kinds of genetic mutations in fetal cells, changes that can affect birth weight and susceptibility to disease. Not only should pregnant women not smoke, “it is equally imperative that workplace protection be offered to reduce passive exposure,” Grant says. If you can, leave the room when others light up. — S.R. BMC PEDIATRICS

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