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From mother to child: the effects of prenatal maternal passive smoking on academic outcomes in the United States


This is the first study in the United States to examine the effect of prenatal maternal passive smoking on student learning outcomes. We use a national sample of children in combination with ordinary least squares regression and matching methods to examine this effect. We find evidence that prenatal maternal exposure to secondhand smoke leads to lower academic performance in language/literacy and mathematics in the later years of elementary school, particularly for mothers who did not actively smoke while pregnant. Our results provide persuasive empirical evidence in support of public policies that address prenatal maternal exposure to secondhand smoking.

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Correspondence to Phuong Nguyen-Hoang.

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Nguyen-Hoang, P., Yeung, R. From mother to child: the effects of prenatal maternal passive smoking on academic outcomes in the United States. J Public Health Pol 39, 231–244 (2018).

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  • Academic performance
  • Prenatal development
  • Passive smoking
  • Active smoking
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Early childhood