Maryland's Tobacco Resource Center - Linking Professionals to Best Practices

Connection Between Smoking and Low-Birth Weight Becomes Clearer

February
2009

Danish researchers have published their work on a biochemical explanation for the link between low-birth weight children and their smoking mothers in the Feb. 2nd online issue of Circulation. The researchers have found that smoking lowers the production of an enzyme responsible for blood vessel dilation. This enzyme has been identified as endothelial nitric oxide synthase, abbreviated eNOS. Failure to properly regulate blood vessel dilation can result in a number of problems including lower birth weight, shorter length, and smaller head circumference.