Parental Smoking And Cancer In Children

Parental Smoking And Cancer In Children
26 Sep 2022
4 mins
Table Of Content
Parental Smoking And Cancer In Children

    Leukemia is a common cancer in children that develop in the bone marrow cells. According to a report from 2021 by the National Cancer Registry Programme,  leukemia is estimated for more than 50% of all childhood malignancies in both genders (46.4% in boys and 44.3% in girls). Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are the two most prevalent types of leukemia. To prevent complications, let's discuss parental smoking and risk of childhood cancer, and smoking effects on children’s health.

    Risk Factors For Childhood Leukemia


    A risk factor is anything that makes a person more likely to get a disease. Let’s discuss the risk factors involved in childhood leukemia


    Genetic risk factors: The mutations that occur in the DNA of your blood cell are genetic risk factors for leukemia. This mutation affects the reproduction of blood cells from bone marrow and even blocks the bone marrow from producing more healthy cells. These mutations are not hereditary and are called acquired gene mutations.


    Environmental risk factors: Environmental risk factors such as radiation and certain chemicals can increase the risk of developing leukemia. 


    Lifestyle-related risk factors: Parental smoking, obesity, drinking alcohol, and sun exposure are risk factors for various adult malignancies. These factors are important in many adult cancers but are unlikely to play a role in most childhood cancers. 


    Please keep reading to know more about parental smoking and risk of childhood cancer.


    What Is Parental Smoking? 


    Parents who smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products may cause genetic changes in their children that lead to the most prevalent types of childhood cancer, like leukemia. An increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is significantly correlated with smoking during the preconception and paternal phases. Educating pregnant mothers and their spouses about the value of tobacco control is more important to alleviate the risk factor.


    Parental Smoking And Genetic Changes In Childhood Cancer


    According to UC San Francisco research, smoking by either parent increases genetic deletions in children, which are associated with the progression of the most common type of cancer in children. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) occurs when lymphocytes develop DNA errors that lead to uncontrolled proliferation and eliminate healthy cells. Genetic deletions are more common in children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and after birth. The researchers discovered that nearly two-thirds of the tumor samples had at least one deletion. 

    Let’s look upon the various condition which causes genetic deletions:

    Pregnancy and lactation:  


    When a mother smokes five cigarettes while pregnant or breastfeeding, it causes more genetic deletions in the child. The number of deletions increased by 22% during pregnancy, while the number of deletions after smoking increased by 74% during breastfeeding.




    When a mother or father smokes five cigarettes per day before conception, the deletions increase by 7 to 8%.

    Paternal preconception smoking, which causes oxidative damage to sperm DNA, may increase the likelihood of deletions in children with Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Male smokers, particularly those who smoked before conception, are found to be more vulnerable to the negative effects of their smoking.

    Quit Smoking - If you can't stop smoking, cancer will win


    Smoking parents increase their risk of smoking-related disease, expose other family members to harmful health impacts, and increase the likelihood of their children developing leukemia. So quit smoking before conception, during pregnancy, and after birth, as it may harm your offspring. However, staying positive and strong can help to relieve the habit of smoking. Apart from leukemia, paternal and maternal smoking can cause other cancers too and birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate. Quit smoking completely since, ‘there is no safe level of smoking while pregnant’


    Written by
    Hemamalini. RContent Writer
    Tags :Childhood cancerLeukemiaCancer in childrenRisk factors for childhood leukemiaParental smoking Genetic deletionsQuit smoking