Prenatal Maternal Smoking and Increased Risk for Tourette Syndrome and Chronic Tic Disorders. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: We assessed the role of prenatal maternal smoking in risk for Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorder (TS/CT) and pediatric-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). METHOD: In an analysis of 73,073 singleton pregnancies from the Danish National Birth Cohort, we calculated incidence rates (IR) per 1,000 person-year for TS/CT and OCD. We then determined crude and adjusted hazard ratios and 95% CIs associated with prenatal maternal smoking, considering smoking as a dichotomous (yes/no) variable or a stratified variable (no smoking, light smoking, and heavy smoking [?10 cigarettes/day]). Additional analyses examined the effect of maternal smoking on risk for TS/CT with other comorbid psychiatric conditions. RESULTS: In final adjusted analyses, heavy smoking was associated with a 66% increased risk for TS/CT (adjusted hazard ratio = 1.66, 95% CI = 1.17-2.35). In addition, heavy smoking was associated with a 2-fold increased risk for TS/CT with comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and both light and heavy smoking were associated with a more than 2-fold increased risk for TS/CT with any non-ADHD psychiatric comorbidity. Our parallel analyses of pediatric-onset OCD were likely underpowered but showed similar relationships. CONCLUSION: Prenatal maternal smoking was associated with increased risk for TS/CT as well as TS/CT with comorbid psychiatric conditions, even after adjustment for several important variables, including maternal psychiatric history, socioeconomic status, and partner smoking. Our findings point to a pathway linking prenatal tobacco exposure and altered brain development to TS/CT.

publication date

  • September 2016