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expert reaction to study looking at smoking in pregnancy and antisocial behaviour in young people

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health scientists look at the association between smoking in pregnancy and antisocial behaviour in offspring.


Prof. Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said:

“The inferred causality here is not really justified because the study did not control for the most relevant variables such as parents’ ADHD and criminal history.  As smoking is moving to the margins of society, these correlations can be expected to appear but they do not necessarily imply causation.  If smoking in pregnancy did generate delinquency, we should see a drop in delinquency accompanying the dramatically reduced smoking rates.  It is still possible that there exists a directional effect, but this study does not really show that this is the case.”


* ‘Maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring antisocial behaviour: findings from a longitudinal investigation of discordant siblings’ by Angela D Paradis et al. published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health on Monday 10 July 2017. 


Declared interests

Prof. Peter Hajek: “No conflicts of interest.”

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