Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
For the record
Response to headline "Smoking during pregnancy raises risk of having children who carry out crimes"
An article in The Independent on Tuesday 4th August claimed that a new study had found that smoking during pregnancy increased the risk that those children would grow up to commit crime. However, the research only found an association between smoking during pregnancy and subsequent delinquent behaviour.
Robert Silver, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah:
“It is important to be extremely cautious when interpreting the results of this study. There are biologically plausible ways for maternal smoking to affect subsequent behaviour through epigenetic modifications. And these data from Australia are of great interest since far too little is known about the causes of abnormal behaviour in general and crime specifically.
"However, this type of study does not allow you to determine ‘causation’. You may conclude that maternal smoking is ‘associated’ with subsequent crime but cannot state that this was the ‘cause’ of such crime. There were also many outcomes assessed in this study and this may have led to a positive association based on statistical chance.”
Document type: For The Record
Published: 7 August 2015