Pregnant Smokers: Tobacco Road Can Be Hard to Exit


ORLANDO — Pregnant women who are not heavy smokers may be more likely to successfully quit, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Lower amounts of smoking, adequate prenatal care, and higher incomes were all associated with women being more likely to quit smoking during pregnancy, said Beth Nordstrom Bailey, Ph.D., of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. She analyzed predictors of smoking cessation among women living in rural Tennessee and Virginia, a population with a historically high rate of smoking.

Dr. Bailey conducted a chart review of 221 women who received prenatal care at a family medicine clinic in 2002 and 2003. She considered sociodemographic factors, medical factors, and substance use history. Of those women, 148 were self-identified as prepregnancy smokers. More than 60% of these smoked a pack or more a day.

Only 27% of the prepregnancy smokers were able to quit during pregnancy, 43% reduced their smoking by a quarter of a pack per day, and about 30% continued smoking at the same level.

The amount of smoking had the highest association with ability to quit. Prenatal care accounted for about 12% of the variation in quitting, Dr. Bailey said. In addition, women were more likely to quit if they had fewer prior pregnancies. Other factors such as marital status, history of depression, education, and use of drugs were not related to cessation.

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