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We explored the influence of maternal smoking during late pregnancy on the likelihood of smoking among offspring in adolescence and adulthood, using birth cohort data collected in the United Kingdom as part of the 1958 National Child Development Study. Longitudinal analysis indicated that maternal smoking during late pregnancy was associated with an increased likelihood of being a non-smoker at 16-year, 23-year and 33-year follow-up. This association differed between male and female offspring, with women showing no significant association and men showing an increased likelihood of being a non-smoker. There did not appear to be any association between maternal smoking during late pregnancy and cigarette consumption among offspring who reported smoking for either sex. These results are inconsistent with some previous reports that maternal smoking during pregnancy increases the likelihood of smoking among female offspring, although the observation of a moderating effect of sex on smoking behaviour is consistent with several previous reports. We discuss possible mechanisms for this association, and suggest factors that may account for the observed sex differences in this association, and the discrepancy between our results and some previous reports.

Original publication




Journal article


Addict Behav

Publication Date





1670 - 1682


Adolescent, Epidemiologic Methods, Female, Humans, Male, Mothers, Pregnancy, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Sex Factors, Smoking, United Kingdom