Smoking during early puberty in boys can affect the health of future generations, a study shows
Smoking during early puberty in boys can have negative consequences for their future generations, a study by the University of Bergen (UiB) shows.
By continually analyzing data collected in the major international RHEINSA, RHEIN and ECRHS studies, researchers have found that the health of future generations depends on the actions and decisions of young people made today. This is particularly relevant for boys in early puberty and mothers / grandmothers both before and during pregnancy, the study shows.
The paper “Prenatal and prepubertal Expositions to tababac smoke in men may Cause lower lung function in future Nachwuchs: a Three-Generation Study using a Causal Modeling Approach” was recently published in the European Respiratory Journal. The study highlights the importance of paying more attention to smoking in young people (defined as before age 15) in order to avoid potential damage to lung function in future generations. It also suggests using moist ingestible tobacco (snus) and e-cigarettes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 6 million people die every day from tobacco-related diseases. The number is expected to rise to over 8 million by 2030. The UiB study underlines that smokers not only endanger their own health, but also the health of their children and possibly their grandchildren.
Changes in the male germ cells
The study notes that both the time before birth and the time before puberty are of great importance for the growth of cells, especially germ cells. The researchers suspect that lifestyle and environmental factors influence respiratory health through epigenetic changes transmitted through male germ cells. In addition, the study finds that lifestyle-related exposures during these time periods affect the health of future generations.
In addition to decreased lung function, the RHINESA study found that prepubertal smoking in boys can lead to obesity in their sons. However, interventions aimed at preventing smoking (nicotine use) in the most vulnerable time windows could have potential multi-generational benefits.
Accordini, S., et al. (2021) Prenatal and prepubertal exposure to tobacco smoke in men may lead to decreased lung function in future offspring: a three-generation study with a causal modeling approach. European respiratory journal. doi.org/10.1183/13993003.02791-2020.