De medische wereld probeert nog steeds zwangere vrouwen van de sigaret af te brengen door het voorschrijven van nicotinepleisters en kauwgum (de zogenaamde NRT-middelen).
Maar wat blijkt uit een recent onderzoek? Het is juist de nicotine en niet de rest van de bestanddelen van sigarettenrook die bij baby’s allerhande problemen doet ontstaan. Emotionele problemen later in het leven, leermoeilijkheden en andere ‘afwijkingen’ worden uitermate vaak toegedicht aan roken tijdens de zwangerschap, maar het blijkt dus vooral nicotine te zijn, zeker in de doses die in nicotinepleisters zit, die tijdens kritieke periodes van de zwangerschap op de hersenen van de ongeboren baby inwerkt.
“There is now abundant evidence that normal fetal development can be disrupted more specifically by nicotine than by any other component of cigarette smoke.“
The recent expansion of Nicotine Replacement Therapy to pregnant women and children ignores the fact that nicotine impairs, disrupts, duplicates and/or interacts with essential physiological functions and is involved in tobacco-related carcinogenesis. The main concerns in the present context are its fetotoxicity and neuroteratogenicity that can cause cognitive, affective and behavioral disorders in children born to mothers exposed to nicotine during pregnancy, and the detrimental effects of nicotine on the growing organism. Hence, the use of nicotine, whose efficacy in treating nicotine addiction is controversial even in adults, must be strictly avoided in pregnancy, breastfeeding, childhood and adolescence.
Nicotine, which impacts the brain during critical stages of its intrauterine development in experimental animals, is in the offspring of smoking mothers also the most likely cause of the deficits in learning and memory, and the emotional and behavioral problems seen in childhood and later in life. … Just published new findings provide experimental evidence that nicotine exposure in pregnancy is responsible for auditory–cognitive deficits in the offspring. … Prenatal nicotine also primes the adolescent brain for depression, and for nicotine addiction in future years.
I think this is a very important perspective that needs to be considered. Unfortunately, the researchers who are in the greatest positions to influence national policy on treatment of smoking cessation (i.e., those chairing and serving on the panels that are developing the recommendations) are so financially conflicted because of their receipt of pharmaceutical funding that they are in no position to be able to adequately consider such a perspective.
Perhaps now it is easier to see why I have argued that the tobacco control movement is so biased by virtue of its acceptance of money from pharmaceutical companies that we are no position to make rational, balanced, objective policy regarding smoking cessation.