Children whose mothers were exposed to second-hand smoke while they were pregnant have more symptoms of serious psychological problems compared to the offspring of women who had no prenatal exposure to smoke, according to a new University of Washington study.
Nicotine, an alkaloid compound in tobacco, is believed to be the chemical that causes these behavior problems in children. Animal studies have shown that nicotine affects brain development during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, causing changes in brain regions critical to the development of externalizing psychopathology in humans.
..."As a consequence, children who were exposed to smoke in utero have colic and are hard to sooth as infants. As toddlers they are overactive and oppositional. Later on they are irritable, inattentive and low on pleasure."