- The prenatal and pre-pubertal periods are of great importance for the growth of cells, especially germ cells.
- Parental tobacco consumption impacts the respiratory health of their offspring through epigenetic changes transmitted by male germ cells.
- Pre-pubescent smoking in boys also leads to an increased risk of obesity in their future children.
Smoking kills… up to several generations. A new Italian study, published on 1is April in theEuropean Respiratory Journal emphasizes that young smokers, especially during adolescence, pose a risk to their potential future children of a decrease in lung function. A problem in France which is one of the European countries most affected by teenage smoking.
In 2030, 8 million people will die from tobacco-related diseases
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 6 million people die from tobacco-related illnesses every day. A number that is expected to climb to more than 8 million by 2030 according to projections. The consequences of smoking go further and in this study, the researchers wanted to show that smokers not only jeopardize their own health but also that of their children and perhaps their grandchildren.
To do this, they studied causal associations over several generations in order to study the effects of smoking. To do this, they analyzed data from 383 adult offspring, aged 18 to 47 years. They collected data on parents’ smoking during their lifetime, especially during childhood as well as before and during pregnancy for expectant mothers. Data on their children’s lung health was then collected.
Prenatal and prepubertal periods
The results revealed that the prenatal and pre-pubertal periods are key periods. They are particularly important for the growth of cells, in particular germ cells. Tobacco use during these times will influence the health of future generations. Indeed, researchers suggest that lifestyle and environmental factors impact respiratory health through epigenetic changes transmitted by male germ cells. They add that pre-pubescent smoking in boys also leads to an increased risk of obesity in their future children.
The study authors note that interventions that aim to reduce smoking during key periods can have beneficial effects over several generations. They add that this must apply to traditional cigarettes as well as electronic cigarettes.