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We explored the influence of maternal smoking during pregnancy on the likelihood of smoking among offspring in adolescence and adulthood using data from two similar British birth cohort surveys, the 1958 National Child Development Study and the 1970 British Birth Survey. Similar information was available in each cohort on maternal age at delivery, offspring sex, maternal smoking during pregnancy, parental and offspring socioeconomic status, and parental smoking at the time offspring smoking was assessed at age 16 years. Offspring smoking at 16 years and at 30/33 years were the primary outcomes of interest. Our data support an association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and an increased risk of offspring smoking later in life among female offspring but not among male offspring. Female offspring of mothers who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to smoke at 16 years than were their male counterparts. Moreover, in this same subgroup, female offspring smoking at 16 years was associated with an increased likelihood of smoking at 30/33 years. Further investigation in larger studies with greater detail of factors shaping smoking in childhood and adulthood and biochemically verified outcome measures would be desirable to clarify the relationship.

Original publication




Journal article


Nicotine Tob Res

Publication Date





801 - 808


Adolescent, Adult, Female, Ganglionic Stimulants, Health Surveys, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Nicotine, Pregnancy, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Risk Factors, Smoking