Children of women who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to become smokers, according to a new study. The research found that prenatal exposure to nicotine increased the vulnerability to nicotine self-administration in adolescent mice. The results support the hypothesis that adolescents with prenatal nicotine exposure are more likely to start smoking earlier than their peers and that they are also more susceptible to the addictive effects of nicotine, especially as a result of stress and peer pressure. The study performed with mice is part of a project researching the behavioural and molecular mechanisms of nicotine addiction. The research project was carried out under the Academy of Finland`s Research Programme on Substance Abuse and Addictions. The key observation made by the Finnish and Russian researchers in the project was that adding nicotine to the drinking water of pregnant mice led to differences between the control and nicotine-exposed offspring in terms of nicotine self-administration.
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