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Smoking Hygiene: An Educational Intervention to Reduce Respiratory Symptoms in Breastfeeding Infants Exposed to Tobacco

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recently removed nicotine from the category of drugs contraindicated during breastfeeding. Little evidence demonstrates that infants exposed to nicotine through breastfeeding experience increased health risks beyond the airborne risks associated with passive smoking. The purpose of this longitudinal, five-week, quasi-experimental pilot study was to determine whether “smoking hygiene,” an educational intervention, reduces the frequency of respiratory symptoms experienced by infants whose mothers both smoke and breastfeed. Twenty-nine mother-infant pairs entered the study with 28% dropping out. Of the 21 mother-infant pairs who completed the study, 66% of the nine infants in the control group experienced respiratory illness, compared to 42% of the 12 infants in the intervention group (x2 = .814; p \mt .05). Thus, the difference was statistically nonsignificant in this small sample, but the trend worsened the anticipated direction. The study demonstrates some of the difficulties of intervening with this group of mothers.

Keywords: breastfeeding; environmental tobacco smoke; infant; upper respiratory infection

Document Type: Standard Article


Affiliations: 1: KERI PULLEY is a family nurse practitioner who practices at Sun Valley Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. 2: MARY BETH FLANDERS-STEPANS is an associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Publication date: 2002-07-01

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