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Are Fewer Women Smoking During Pregnancy?

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Objective: To determine whether pregnancy-smoking rates have changed in last decade. Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 67,395 pregnancies in Kansas City over 2 epochs, 1993–1997 and 1998–2002, using computer files of birth certificates. Results: Overall pregnancy-smoking rates decreased from 18.1% (95% CI=17.7–18.5%) to 14.2% (13.8–14.5%). Among smokers, there was a distribution shift toward light smoking; light [39% (38.9–40.3%) vs 49% (47.6–50.4%)], moderate [36.8% (34.8%–38.8%) vs 34.4% (32.1–36.7%)], and heavy [23.1% (21.9–26.3%) vs 16.6% (14–19.1%)]. Conclusions: The results suggest decreasing heavier smoking. However, the trend toward light smoking suggests decreasing self-reporting. These findings highlight the dilemma in using self-reports for public health policy and emphasize the importance of antismoking socialization for all pregnancies.

Keywords: cigarette smoking; pregnant women; smoking trends

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO 2: Health Department, Kansas City, MO 3: Preventive Medicine, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, Kansas City, MO

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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