Prenatal exposure to tobacco and risk for schizophrenia: a retrospective epidemiological study

Compr Psychiatry. 2010 Mar-Apr;51(2):106-9. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2009.03.012. Epub 2009 May 5.


Introduction: In animal studies, long-term prenatal nicotinic exposure alters the development of dopaminergic neurons. To determine whether prenatal smoking exposure was associated with schizophrenia, using a retrospective design study, we compared the prevalence of tobacco use during pregnancy in mothers of subjects with and without schizophrenia.

Methods: One hundred patients with schizophrenia, 100 nonschizophrenic-matched subjects, and their respective mothers were interviewed. The prevalence of smoking was measured in these individuals as well as in their respective mothers during the pregnancy.

Results: Patients with schizophrenia smoked more often compared with controls (73% vs 57%). In contrast, the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy did not differ between the groups of mothers. Indeed, the amount of tobacco used was significantly lower in mothers of patients with schizophrenia vs mothers of nonpsychotic subjects.

Conclusion: This study did not show any association between prenatal tobacco exposure and further development of schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / etiology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco / adverse effects*