Smoking's effect on unborn babies revealed

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Unborn babies exposed to nicotine have a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart disease growing up.

... researchers now know why the nicotine exposure - including from patches and gum - has the effect:

... the addictive substance causes the formation of potentially damaging chemicals, known as reactive oxygen species, in the blood vessel walls of the foetus.

... nicotine patches and gum, commonly used by people trying to kick their smoking habit, could have the same effect.

... the study proved the long-term harm nicotine caused to children from a young age or as a foetus.

... "Both babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant and babies who are exposed to second-hand smoke after birth are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than babies who are not exposed to cigarette smoke.''

She said babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant or who are exposed to second-hand smoke after birth also have weaker lungs than unexposed babies, which increases the risk of many health problems later in life.

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