This paper presents a review of the literature on the effects of cigarette smoking on the health of descendants and the possible mechanisms that lead to them. The evidence of the effects of prenatal cigarette smoke exposure on neonatal morbidity is clear. A number of birth defects have their incidence raised by maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy. Prenatal smoke exposure also increases the risk of infant irritability, inattention, decreased response to inanimate auditory stimuli and hypertonia. In addition, the prevalence of obesity in preschool children is higher if the mother smoked during pregnancy, as well as the presence of male or female subfertility/infertility in adult life. Studies on the association between parental smoking and childhood cancer correlate paternal smoking to a higher risk of neoplasm in early life, especially of hematopoietic origin.