The effects of tobacco exposure on children's behavioral and cognitive functioning: implications for clinical and public health policy and future research

Neurotoxicol Teratol. May-Jun 2002;24(3):397-406. doi: 10.1016/s0892-0362(02)00201-5.


A growing body of literature indicates that maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with neurotoxic effects on children. Both animal model studies and human epidemiologic studies demonstrate similar effects in terms of increased activity, decreased attention, and diminished intellectual abilities. Epidemiologic studies also suggest that prenatal tobacco exposure is associated with higher rates of behavior problems and school failure. These findings are explored and their implications for child health policy and practice, and for research, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / toxicity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Public Health Practice
  • Smoking / adverse effects*


  • Nicotine