The effects of prenatal smoke exposure on language development- a systematic review

Jessica Peixinho, Umar Toseeb, Hayley S Mountford, Isabel Bermudez , Dianne F Newbury

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The negative health effects cigarette smoking during pregnancy (SDP) on the foetus are well known. Despite previous reports of poor cognitive performance in offspring exposed to SDP, few studies specifically consider language outcomes according to maternal smoking. In this study, we systematically review the literature to assess the relationships between SDP and child language. Of the 14 studies reviewed, 13 (93%) reported significant associations between maternal smoking or exposure and language outcomes. Despite this consistent association, only 8 of the 13 studies reporting associations (62%) concluded direct relationships between exposure and outcome. The remaining studies suggested that the relationship between smoking and language could be explained by factors such as maternal IQ, socioeconomic status (SES) and parental age. Future studies should apply careful study designs allowing for confounding factors across child, parental, environmental and genetic influences. Our review suggests that smoking cessation is likely to positively affect child language outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2331
Number of pages26
JournalInfant and child development
Issue number4
Early online date6 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2022

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© 2022 The Authors.

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