Paper - The excretion of nicotine in breast milk and urine from cigarette smoking: its effect on lactation and the nursing

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Perlman HH. Dannenberg AM and Sokoloff N. The excretion of nicotine in breast milk and urine from cigarette smoking: its effect on lactation and the nursing. (1942) J Am Med Assoc. 28;120(13):1003-9. PMID 12259174

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This historic 1942 paper identifies the transfer of nicotine from mother into breast milk.

Modern Notes: smoking | mammary gland

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A study was conducted to determine the effects of nicotine on lactation and the nurslings. 55 white volunteers between 18-36 years of age, both multiparas and primiparas, who smoke habitually were studied.

Nicotine was found to be present in all milk and urine specimens obtained from smoking mothers.

Comparison with nonsmoking mothers showed that no specimen of their urine or milk contained nicotine. 11-17 times more nicotine was contained in the urine than in the milk samples. There was a correlation between the amount of nicotine in either the urine or the milk and the number of cigarettes smoked. 20% of the mothers in the study had insufficient milk to continue lactation, but this was no higher than the usual percentage of women who fail to sustain lactation. The nurslings were apparently unaffected by the nicotine they ingested with their breast milk. It is suggested that a tolerance to nicotine may prevent the nicotine from affecting either the mothers' ability to nurse or the infants.

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2020, May 25) Embryology Paper - The excretion of nicotine in breast milk and urine from cigarette smoking: its effect on lactation and the nursing. Retrieved from

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