According to a report by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in 88 children have autism. Now, a new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that women who smoke while they are pregnant may be adding to the statistics.

Researchers looked at the smoking data from birth certificates of thousands of children from 11 states and compared it with the information from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Based on the report, 13 percent of the mothers included in the study did smoke while they were pregnant. In addition, of the 633,989 children born in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998, 3,315 developed an autism spectrum disorder by the age of eight.

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Now the study doesn’t exactly say that smoking is a risk factor. According to lead author Amy Kalkbrenner, however, there is a strong association between smoking and certain types of autism, like the high-functioning Asperger’s Disorder. So if you’re expecting, it would be best if you could quit smoking for a while and schedule an appointment with your doctor.

(Photo by Omaitargh via Flickr Creative Commons)

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