Few Pregnant Women Quit Smoking

Photo: Fingers rolling a cigarette

More women quit smoking before
pregnancy than in the 90s, but
many still do not; © SXC

A new study found that almost half of pregnant New Jersey smokers quit smoking before entry into prenatal care, but that only about five percent quit after entering prenatal care. What is worse is that although prenatal care providers asked almost every woman entering prenatal care if they smoke, “only 56.7 percent reported that a provider counselled them to quit smoking,” said lead author Van Tong.

“More work is needed to increase the knowledge, promotion and referral of effective cessation programmes for pregnant women and, ideally, to prevent young women from ever initiating smoking,” she said.

The researchers analysed questionnaire data from 4,473 women in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) in New Jersey from 2004 to 2005. They selected New Jersey respondents because that state’s survey has additional questions on smoking patterns and the use of cessation services.

“Self-reported smoking behavior gathered through population surveys is generally accurate because it is anonymous,” Corinne Husten, Medical Doctor and vice president for policy development at the Partnership for Prevention, said. “Pregnant women are more likely to misreport their tobacco use in cessation studies and to their personal health care provider. This survey asked the questions in a way to minimise deception.”

On a positive note, the new data show an estimate of quitting before prenatal care that is 1.8 to 4.5 times higher than estimates from studies conducted from the 1990s and before, Tong said.

However, Husten says the most salient implication of the study is that so many providers are not doing anything to help pregnant women quit smoking. “A 57 percent intervention in this high-risk population is unacceptable,” she said.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine