It Is Not Allowed to Do Harm, Nor to Allow Being Harmed

A team of researchers in the United States conducted a study on the effects of smoking on fetuses.


The study concluded that women who smoke during pregnancy or inhale smoke while sitting around other smokers – which is called passive smoking – transmit blood cancer-causing substances to the fetus. Those substances can stay in the fetus’ blood for months.


There are numerous studies confirming that smoking during pregnancy can be dangerous to a fetus’ health, as it stunts fetal growth, increases a baby’s chances of developing respiratory problems and leads to delivering a small baby. However, this first-of-a-kind study indicates the transmission of cancer-causing substances to the fetus’ blood as well.


During a conference for the American Association of Cancer, Dr. Myers announced that “Those cancerous substances cause an alteration to the DNA, which carries the genetic information in charge of cell growth and activity. These substances might be responsible for blood cancer in children or even other types of cancer in different childhood stages.”


Participants in the study were 410 pregnant women. Among the participants were active smokers, passive smokers (which is the inhalation of smoke from others for more than a few hours daily) and non-smokers. Researchers analyzed blood samples from the mother and the fetus to determine the levels of three cancer-causing substances.


The substances studied were Benzo[a]pyrene, a substance linked to lung and skin cancer; 4-Aminobiphenyl, which is linked to bladder cancer; and Acrylonitrile, which is associated with liver cancer.


The three substances were present in both the mother and fetus’ blood, in levels higher in women who smoked more than others. The study also found that these substances adhere to hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells) which causes them to stay present in blood throughout the three-month life span of blood cells.


The study also found that the levels of these cancer-causing substances were 20 times higher in active smoking mothers and 5 times higher in passive smoking mothers than their nonsmoking counterparts.


Knowing that smoke consists of more than 500 chemicals, 50 of which are linked to cancer based on scientific studies conducted on animals, it is clear how damaging smoking can be, not only to us but also to our families and children even when they are still in utero and before they are one-day old… Day after day, science is still revealing the negative consequences of passive smoking.


Smoking is considered as an impurity and conflicts with two of the objectives of Islamic Sharia: Life and property. Our religion states that “there should be neither harm nor malice.”


If we were among those who do not care about those objectives or the disadvantages of smoking, we have to realize that when we smoke, we don’t only harm ourselves, but might extend harm onto others, even to a fetus in utero, as proved by science.


The West started applying these principles, used its brain and conscience and restricted smokers to protect nonsmokers. Extensive multilevel educational programs, alongside with strict rules, were able to decrease the number of smokers. The number is still going down every day.


The West used its brain and conscience and prioritized the protection of life and property in this case. When will we use our brains, consciences, religious teachings and the objectives of our Sharia…?


Okaz Newspaper – Sunday 2 Muharram 1417 AH falling on 19 May 1996 AD