Link Between Sids and Nicotine Intake Essay

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Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS is a unique disorder in that it is not fully understood. It occurs in infants who by no other explainable cause or clinical history unexpectedly die, usually within the first 12 months of the child’s life and whilst the child is unobserved and asleep. Whilst this mysterious syndrome has been vastly studied, no specific cause has been successfully found however various risk factors have been critically evaluated. Exposure to tobacco smoke in both a prenatal and postnatal environment has been highly reviewed and suggests that there is a strong link between tobacco smoking and SIDS. Specifically, the nicotine content in the cigarettes poses a toxic threat to the lung tissue of infants. A large case study conducted by (Blair et al. 1996), involving all SIDS victims of two regions in the UK between 1993 and 1995, investigated the exposure effects of tobacco smoking and other drug use. 195 SIDS victims were matched with 780 control babies and the smoking habits of the parents and families were examined. The study was able to confirm not only that there was a substantial increase in the risk of SIDS associated with maternal prenatal smoking but also additive adverse effects, resulting from exposure to tobacco smoke from other members of the household before or after birth. The more intense the exposure (amount of cigarettes smoked) the greater the risk, otherwise called a dose-response relationship. The issue with these findings is that almost always prenatal smoking will be accompanied with postnatal smoking, therefore it is hard to separate the two and deduce the individual affects and analyse the risks. Nevertheless, tobacco smoke within the household has shown a clear risk increase. And therefore, mothers who give up their prenatal cigarettes and return to their habit after the birth may be doing more damage than previously

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