Stockholm's Karolinska Institute has concluded a new study about pregnant mothers and tobacco use and the results may shock you (no irony!). In snus-addled Sweden, using snuff/snus/dip is widely seen as less harmful than smoking, so it's a great habit for pregnant women who smoke to pick up, right? Perhaps not! Reuters Health reports on the findings:

One or two in every 1,000 babies born to mothers who didn't use snuff or cigarettes developed apnea. For babies whose mothers lit up during pregnancy, that risk increased by about 50 percent.

And for those whose mothers used snuff, the rate was more than twice as high as in babies born to mothers who didn't use any kind of tobacco.

When the researchers took into account how early babies were born — prematurity has been linked to both maternal smoking and breathing problems in newborns — smoking alone didn't have any extra effect on the risk of apnea. But apnea was still more common when mothers used snuff, regardless of whether babies were born early or not.

That's a bummer for moms who dip, but sort of good news for smokers. But the study's lead researcher did offer this pearl of wisdom: "I think the best thing for women who smoke during pregnancy is to stop if it's possible." Ah shit.

[Reuters; image via Flickr/quotablekidney]