London: Ladies, here’s yet another
reason to kick the butt — women who smoke during
pregnancy may be more likely to have a child with
high-functioning autism, according to a new study.
“It has long been known that autism is an umbrella
term for a wide range of disorders that impair social
and communication skills,” said lead author Amy
Kalkbrenner from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“What we are seeing is that some disorders on the
autism spectrum, more than others, may be influenced by
a factor such as whether a mother smokes during
pregnancy,” she was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.
For their study, the researchers looked at a
population-based study comparing smoking data from birth
certificates of hundreds of thousands of children from
11 states to a database of children diagnosed with
They found that 13% of mothers whose children were
identified as having an autism spectrum disorder at the
age of eight had smoked during pregnancy. These children
were more likely to have high-functioning autism such as
Asperger’s Disorder, which has a less severe impact.
“The study doesn’t say for certain that smoking is a
risk factor for autism. But it says that there is an
association, between smoking and some types of autism,”