10 Overlooked Reasons to Quit Smoking
If you need more incentive to quit smoking, here are some reasons that you may not know about.
Maternal Smoking Doubles Risk
Smoking increases the risk of sudden infant death
syndrome, or SIDS, a European analysis shows.
The researchers compared 745 SIDS cases with more than 2,400 live babies for
comparison and concluded that just under half of all deaths were attributable
to infants sleeping on their stomachs or sides. Roughly 16% of SIDS deaths were
linked to bed sharing, but for unknown reasons, bed sharing was particularly
risky when the mother smoked. The risk was very small when mothers did not
smoke during pregnancy, the researchers
Maternal smoking alone was associated with a doubling in SIDS risk. The risk
was 17 times greater, however, for babies who bed shared and had mothers who
smoked. The findings are reported in the Jan. 17 issue of The
"The safest thing to do is to put the baby to bed on his back with no
bedcovers in the same room with parents who don't smoke," London School of
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine epidemiologist Robert G. Carpenter, PhD, tells
Makes Babies Irritable, Too
Exposure to tobacco smoke may increase babies' risk of colic, according to a
review of more than 30 studies on the topic.
Colic often starts a few weeks after birth, peaking at about 5 to 8 weeks of
age. It usually goes away by 4 months of age. Babies' symptoms include
irritability, inconsolable crying, red face, clenched fists, drawn-up legs, and
Colic affects an estimated 5%-28% of babies born in Western countries. Its
causes have been attributed to everything from exposure to cow's milk proteins
to feeding difficulties to maternal depression or anxiety.
Tobacco smoke appears to raise levels of a gut hormone called motilin in the
blood and intestines.
Motilin increases the contractions of the
and intestines, increasing the movement of food through the gut.
"Higher-than-average motilin levels are linked to elevated risks of infantile
colic," the researchers write in the October issue of the journal
An Increased Risk of Impotence
Guys concerned about their performance in the bedroom should stop lighting
up, suggests a study that linked smoking to a man's ability to get an erection.
The study of nearly 5,000 Chinese men showed that men who smoked more than a
pack a day were 60% more likely to suffer erectile
dysfunction, compared with men who never smoked cigarettes.