Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy on human milk interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 levels at the postpartum seventh day.
Methods: Forty-four mothers (age range: 21–34 years) were enrolled in the study. Mothers were interviewed and classified according to their smoking status into one of two groups: the smoking mothers (n= 21) and the nonsmoking mothers (n= 23).
Results: There were no significant differences between study groups with respect to human milk interleukin-1β (P= 0.12) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 levels (P= 0.83). However, TNF-α levels were found to be significantly lower in the smoking mothers compared with the controls (P= 0.002).
Conclusion: This study shows that maternal smoking during pregnancy affects the levels of TNF-α in milk. The protective effect of human milk against infections seems to be impaired in smoking mothers.