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Increasing your child's future risk of heart attack? There's never been a better reason to quit

Wednesday 22 June, 2011

It's never been more important for pregnant women who smoke to kick the habit - after a new Australian study has shown women who smoke in pregnancy are putting their child at risk of heart attack or stroke later in life.

The study, published online in the European Heart Journal today, showed children born to smokers had a lower level of a certain type of cholesterol in their blood, which protects against heart disease.

The researchers estimate children born to women who smoked while pregnant face a 10-15% increased risk of developing heart disease later in life.

Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said there's never been a better reason for pregnant women to quit smoking.

"As we can see from this study, a woman's smoking habit during pregnancy doesn't only affect her baby when it's young. Her smoking habit will continue to affect her child as it grows up into adulthood."

"Women who smoke and who are pregnant need to seriously think whether they want to pass on a lifetime of increased health risk to their unborn child. The best thing they can do for their own health, and that of their unborn child, is to quit smoking today."

Ms Sharkie said this latest study showed only one of the risks caused by smoking during pregnancy.

"Prior research has already shown that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, miscarriage, having a low-weight baby and a baby with weaker lungs."

"But any positive changes you make to your smoking habits now can reduce these risks and give your baby the best chance of a healthy start in life. Women who quit before or during their pregnancy reduce the risk of all complications, preterm delivery and low birth weight. Set your quit date today and ring the Quitline on 13 7848."