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Another reason not to smoke cigarettes discovered

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Man smoking cigarette on black background

By Stephen Beech via SWNS

Men who started smoking young condemn their granddaughters and even their great-granddaughters to piling on the pounds, warns a new study.

Researchers found more body fat than expected in women whose grandfathers or great-grandfathers began smoking before puberty.

Previous studies have shown that exposure of males to certain chemicals before breeding can have effects on their offspring.

However, there has been doubt as to whether the phenomena is present in humans - and whether any apparent effects may be more readily explained by other factors.

Now, scientists from the University of Bristol have studied possible effects of ancestral pre-pubertal cigarette smoking on participants in the Children of the 90s, a study involving more than 14,000 people.

In earlier research from 2014, they found that if a father started smoking regularly before the age of 11, then his sons, but not his daughters, had more body fat than expected.

via GIPHY

For the new study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, they extended the analysis to earlier generations using recently collected data on the grandfathers and great-grandfathers of participants obtained by questionnaires.

They found higher body fat in women whose paternal grandfathers or great-grandfathers had started smoking before the age of 13 compared to those whose ancestors started smoking later in childhood.

No effects were observed in male descendants.

Man's hands in old rusty chains near the cigarette. Addicted to smoking. Stop sign. Dangerous habit.
(MorphoBio / Shutterstock)

Study lead author Professor Jean Golding said: “This research provides us with two important results.

"First, that before puberty, exposure of a boy to particular substances might have an effect on generations that follow him.

"Second, one of the reasons why children become overweight may be not so much to do with their current diet and exercise, rather than the lifestyle of their ancestors or the persistence of associated factors over the years."

Prof Golding added: "If these associations are confirmed in other datasets, this will be one of the first human studies with data suitable to start to look at these associations and to begin to unpick the origin of potentially important cross-generation relationships.

"It is with great thanks to participants within the Children of the 90s study that we are able to carry out such pioneering research. There is much to explore.”

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