Many women are encouraged to quit smoking when they become pregnant using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) whether as gum, transdermal patches, nasal spray or lozenges. But new research from Western University in London, Canada, has shown that nicotine from either smoking or NRT causes a wide range of long-term adverse reactions for the offspring, including an increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome by influencing the liver to produce more triglyceride. The research, led by Daniel Hardy, PhD, of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry is published online in the journal "Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology."
"We knew smoking was bad during pregnancy. But the problem is one fifth of pregnant women in Canada continue to smoke, and 30 prospective studies have shown us that that babies born to smoking mothers have a 47 per cent increase in the odds of becoming overweight. And here's the interesting thing, that's even after adjusting for mom's diet and socioeconomic status," says Hardy, an assistant professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Physiology and Pharmacology "Our studies were designed to find if there is a biological basis between nicotine exposure from either NRT or smoking, and obesity and metabolic syndrome later in the offspring's life."