In the latest of a series of interviews from the Royal Economic Society Conference 2007, Romesh Vaitilingam talks to Emma Tominey about the effect of smoking during pregnancy.
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy will have smaller babies. But much of the harm is due to unobservable traits of the mother. If mums stub it out by the time they are five months pregnant, the damage is as good as undone.
At the same time, the lasting harm to babies is greatest if the mothers have low education. So a much more holistic approach to improving child health in pregnancy is needed to help thousands of children break out of the poverty trap.
These are the conclusions of extensive new research by Emma Tominey, presented to the Royal Economic Society’s 2007 annual conference at the University of Warwick, 11-13 April. (more…)