Exposure to tobacco smoke in utero or during early childhood and risk of hypomania: prospective birth cohort study

D. F. Mackay*, J. J. Anderson, J. P. Pell, S. Zammit, D. J. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
241 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives Using data from a prospective birth cohort, we aimed to test for an association between exposure to tobacco smoke in utero or during early development and the experience of hypomania assessed in young adulthood. Methods We used data on 2957 participants from a large birth cohort (Avon longitudinal study of parents and children [ALSPAC]). The primary outcome of interest was hypomania, and the secondary outcome was “hypomania plus previous psychotic experiences (PE)”. Maternally-reported smoking during pregnancy, paternal smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in childhood were the exposures of interest. Multivariable logistic regression was used and estimates of association were adjusted for socio-economic, lifestyle and obstetric factors. Results There was weak evidence of an association between exposure to maternal smoking in utero and lifetime hypomania. However, there was a strong association of maternal smoking during pregnancy within the sub-group of individuals with hypomania who had also experienced psychotic symptoms (OR = 3.45; 95% CI: 1.49–7.98; P = 0.004). There was no association between paternal smoking, or exposure to ETS during childhood, and hypomania outcomes. Conclusions Exposure to smoking in utero may be a risk factor for more severe forms of psychopathology on the mood-psychosis spectrum, rather than DSM-defined bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Early online date1 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Nicotine
  • Post-partum
  • Psychoses
  • Tobacco


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