Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Passive smoking in utero: its effects on neonatal appearance.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: (Published 12 September 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:627
  1. H F Stirling,
  2. J E Handley,
  3. A W Hobbs
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Bangour General Hospital, West Lothian.


    Smoking causes changes in the appearance of adults and has profound effects on the fetus, but little is known about its effects on the appearance of newborn infants. Two colour photographs (face and whole body) of 15 newborn infants (seven born to mothers who had smoked during pregnancy and eight born to mothers who had not) were shown to 100 medical and nursing staff, who in a double blind trial were asked to identify which babies had been born to smokers. The mean number correctly identified was 9.1, which was significant compared with the number expected by random selection (7.5). No specific features were identified that distinguished the two groups of infants; selection was intuitive. Nevertheless, the fact that differences can be detected in some way may be useful for antismoking health education.