The effect of paternal smoking on the birthweight of newborns whose mothers did not smoke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations


We examined the relationship of paternal smoking habits to birthweight in a cohort of infants enrolled at birth (n = 1219). To assess validity of parental smoking reports, cord serum levels of cotinine were measured in 175 newborns. A mean birthweight deficit of 88 g was found in newborns of nonsmoking mothers whose fathers smoked more than 20 cigarettes/day. Only 2 of 138 newborns whose mothers said they were nonsmokers had cotinine levels indicating that their mothers were active smokers. Among infants of nonsmoking mothers, detectability of cotinine in cord blood was significantly correlated with the number of cigarettes smoked daily by fathers. These data suggest that fetal growth may be adversely affected when the mother is passively exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1489-1491
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this