A group of Chinese experts has discovered that secondhand smoke exposure during childhood increases the risk of miscarriage. Even if these women have never been smokers, they were still affected if other family members smoked.
The researchers established that the participants who grew up with at least two smokers when they were children had a twenty percent higher risk of losing a pregnancy. Also, the women exposed to secondhand smoke at least five times every week were 14 percent more likely to have a miscarriage compared to those who weren’t exposed to tobacco smoke during childhood.
On the other hand, those who lived with just one smoker, or were exposed to smoke less than 5 times every week didn’t have a higher risk of miscarriage. The experts say that their findings represent another solid proof that China’s smoke-free regulations are more than welcome.
Also, the researchers believe that the country needs to promote more smoke-free laws to prevent children from being exposed to the harmful tobacco smoke. According to Shanshan Yang, co-author of the study and a scientist at the Institute of Geriatrics at the PLA General Hospital, the team analyzed data from roughly 20,000 women who were at least 50 years old and lived in Guangzhou.
Based on the study findings, around 57 percent of the participants were exposed to tobacco smoke in childhood, meaning before they turned 18. However, the authors note that the study had a few limitations.
First, the women relied on childhood memories and second, the experts couldn’t establish the age of the participants when they had a miscarriage or if they were exposed to tobacco smoke when they were pregnant.
The researchers say that the smoking habits in the United States are quite different than those in China. More precisely, the smoking rates in the U.S. are almost equal among men and women, whereas in China, men account for the majority of smokers.
The team added that there might be other factors influencing the rate of tobacco exposure during childhood, including social norms, smoke-free rules, and indoor smoking regulations. However, the women in the U.S. might have the same risk of miscarriage as those in China because what matters is if their family members are smokers or not.