It has long been known that smoking during pregnancy can be dangerous for the health of the unborn infant.
Now, a new study has further highlighted this fact, by revealing that should an expectant mother smoke, she will be running the risk of her unborn child developing both respiratory and non-respiratory infections - both of which can result in hospitalisation or even death.
To be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando and published in the journal Pediatric Infectious Diseases, the findings will only add to the burgeoning wealth of research that strongly advises against the practice, which is now widely frowned upon.
According to the results, the children of mothers who smoked while they were carrying were as much as 50 per cent more likely to be hospitalised or pass away as the result of any one of the aforementioned diseases than those whose mothers didn't touch cigarettes.
Generally, this was regardless of a baby's birth weight or gestational age.
Lead author Dr Abigail Halperin commented: "While respiratory infections have been recognised as a common cause of these sometimes life-threatening illnesses, this study shows that babies exposed to smoke in utero also have increased risk for hospitalisation and death from a much broader range of infections - both respiratory and non-respiratory - than we knew before."
The expert went on to explain how prior to this study, it had long been known that babies born to smoking mothers were more at risk of other problems such as low birth weight, premature delivery and poor lung development.
Interestingly, the findings also showed that a mother who smoked during the beginning of her pregnancy could reduce the risk of her baby suffering from the aforementioned infections should she quit - or even just cut back - part-way through her pregnancy - thus affirming the notion that it is never too late to quit.