A recent study presented in Munich, Germany at the European Respiratory Society International Congress suggests a link between fathers’ smoking habits and the risk for children to develop asthma, according to a press release.
The study, “Parental smoking prior to conception and asthma in offspring,” the first conducted in humans, analyzed 13,000 men and women. Through the evaluation of parents’ answers to a questionnaire, researchers observed a possible link between fathers’ habits prior to a child’s conception and children suffering from asthma, suggesting that the risk to suffer from the disease increases if fathers smoked before conception.
The researchers also studied, among both fathers and mothers, the number of years they had smoked, and if they had quit before the baby was conceived.
They were led to believe that non-allergic asthma was more common in children if the father had smoked before the conception of a child.
In addition, researchers also observed that the risk was higher if a father smoked before he was fifteen. The same was observed in smokers who had smoked for long periods of time.
Although there are signs of a relationship between smoking, fathers, and children’s asthma prevalence, the same wasn’t observed when considering mothers’ habits before conception. Scientists weren’t able to establish the same kind of cause-effect.
According to Dr. Cecilie Svanes, from the University of Bergen, Norway, these results may suggest further links. “ … we can presume that exposure to any type of air pollution, from occupational exposures to chemical exposures, could also have an effect,” she explained, adding that for these reason, policymakers should “focus on interventions targeting young men and warning them of the dangers of smoking and other exposures to their unborn children in the future.”