Eriksen, Hanne-Lise Falgreen4; Kesmodel, Ulrik Schiøler5; Wimberley, Theresa6; Underbjerg, Mette7; Kilburn, Tina Røndrup4; Mortensen, Erik Lykke8
1 Department of Public Health, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Section of Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Center for Healthy Ageing, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet4 unknown5 Institut for Klinisk Medicin - Gynækologisk/Obstetrisk afd. Y- SKS6 Institut for Matematiske Fag, Københavns Universitet7 Klinisk Epidemiologisk Afdeling8 Section of Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
The aim of the study was to examine the effects of tobacco smoking in pregnancy on children's IQ at the age of 5. A prospective follow-up study was conducted on 1,782 women, and their offspring were sampled from the Danish National Birth Cohort. At 5 years of age, the children were tested with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised. Parental education, maternal IQ, maternal alcohol consumption in pregnancy, the sex and age of the child, and tester were considered core confounders, but the full model also controlled for prenatal paternal smoking, maternal age and Bodymass Mass Index, parity, family/home environment, postnatal parental smoking, breast feeding, the child's health status, and indicators for hearing and vision impairments. Unadjusted analyses showed a statistically significant decrement of 4 points on full-scale IQ (FSIQ) associated with smoking 10+ cigarettes per day compared to nonsmoking. After adjustment for potential confounders, no significant effects of prenatal exposure to tobacco smoking were found. Considering the indisputable teratogenic effects of tobacco smoking, these findings should be interpreted with caution. Still, the results may indicate that previous studies that failed to control for important confounders, particularly maternal intelligence, may be subject to substantial residual confounding.