Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Epidemiol. 2009 Feb;38(1):158-72. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyn250. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

Maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy and cognitive performance in adolescence.

Author information

Brain and Body Centre, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.



The incidence of cigarette smoking during pregnancy remains high. Maternal smoking during pregnancy is known to be associated with cognitive and behavioural sequelae in childhood and adolescence. We assessed the relationship between maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy and cognitive abilities in adolescent offspring (n = 503, 12- to 18-years old) using an extensive 6-h battery of tests.


Non-exposed adolescents (controls) were matched to exposed adolescents (cases) by maternal education and school attended. Cognitive abilities were evaluated using a neuropsychological battery consisting of 33 tasks measuring verbal abilities, visuo-spatial skills, verbal and visual memory, processing speed, resistance to interference and motor dexterity.


We found no differences between cases and controls in any of the cognitive domains whether potential confounders were included in the model or not. In addition to maternal smoking during pregnancy, we also evaluated the effect of sex and age on the various cognitive abilities in this large adolescent sample and found that most of the abilities continue to improve during adolescence to the same extent in girls and boys, with several age-independent sex differences.


We found no effect of maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy on cognitive abilities of the adolescent offspring when matching cases and controls by maternal education, the most common confounder of maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center