The effects of prenatal smoke exposure on language development: A systematic review

Jessica Peixinho, Umar Toseeb, Hayley S. Mountford, Isabel Bermudez, Dianne F. Newbury*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The negative health effects of cigarette smoking during pregnancy (SDP) on the foetus are well known. Despite previous reports of poor cognitive performance in offspring exposed to SDP, few studies specifically consider language outcomes according to maternal smoking. In this study, we systematically review the literature to assess the relationships between SDP and child language. Of the 14 studies reviewed, 13 (93%) reported significant associations between maternal smoking or exposure and language outcomes. Despite this consistent association, only 8 of the 13 studies reporting associations (62%) concluded direct relationships between exposure and outcome. The remaining studies suggested that the relationship between smoking and language could be explained by factors such as maternal IQ, socioeconomic status (SES) and parental age. Future studies should apply careful study designs allowing for confounding factors across child, parental, environmental and genetic influences. Our review suggests that smoking cessation is likely to positively affect child language outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2331
JournalInfant and Child Development
Issue number4
Early online date6 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • exposure
  • language
  • maternal
  • prenatal
  • smoke


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