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Study Links Smoking Mothers with Children's Behavior

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RALEIGH — There has been much discussion about thephysical effects an infant can suffer when its mother smoked during herpregnancy. Now, a new study has made an astonishing link between smokingmoms and their children'sbehaviors.

The study, of 177 boys over a six year period, reports pregnant womenwho smoke at least half a pack ofcigarettes a day are more likely to have male children with behaviorproblems than women who do not smoke during pregnancy.

WRAL-TV5'sKelly Wrightwent toWake County Medical Center to talk to doctors about thestudy and to pregnant women about their smoking habits.

Penny Jones of Wake Forest is expecting her second child. She is40 weeks pregnant and is looking forward to delivering a healthy baby any day now, but there is cause for concern. Jones told Wright shestill smokes cigarettes.

A half pack of cigarettes a day during pregnancy appears to causeconduct disorder in little boys.The latest issue of the Archives of Psychiatry shows the results of asix year study that concludes boys between age 7 to 12 are more prone tolying, setting fires, vandalism, physical cruelty and more if theirmothers smoked during pregnancy.

Dr. Paul Morris of the Wake county health center says more study isneeded. While he's against smoking, he says other factors could beobscuring the facts of this new study.

Wishing to take no chances with the risk factors, the center worksextensively with pregnant women, advising them to stop smoking. Dr. CathiWeatherly-Jones says pregnant women who smoke often find it difficult toquit.

Penny Jones also has a 2-year-old son. She said she smoked throughouther first pregnancy as well and the child appears to be fine.Hopefully when he turns seven he'll still be fine, and won't showsymptoms of conduct disorder. Jones says she plans to quit smoking.