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Researchers at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center have offered the first direct evidence that a carcinogenic chemical is transmitted to the fetus when a pregnant woman smokes.
In findings presented last month at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Stephen Hecht, PhD, analyzed the first urine of 48 newborns born to smoking and nonsmoking mothers. The urine samples were provided by collaborators in Germany. In 22 of 31 samples from infants of smoking mothers, Hecht detected by-products of NNK, a nicotine-derived chemical that is unique to tobacco and is one of the strongest carcinogens in tobacco smoke. Infants of nonsmoking mothers had no NNK metabolites in their urine.
Voelker R. Smoke Carcinogen Affects Fetus. JAMA. 1998;280(12):1041. doi:10.1001/jama.280.12.1041-JQU80006-4-1