Government Agency Navigation

Child Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

Smoking During Pregnancy

Narrative

Smoking during pregnancy can have a negative impact on the health of women, infants, and children by increasing the risk of fertility problems and pregnancy complications, as well as preterm birth, low birth weight, some birth defects, and sudden infant death syndrome.1 Secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy has also been associated with increased risk for low birth weight.2

In 2009–2010, 11.6 percent of recent mothers in a 30-state area reported that they had smoked in the last 3 months of pregnancy. Smoking in the last 3 months of pregnancy varied significantly by race and ethnicity. About one-quarter of non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native mothers (26.3 percent) reported having smoked in the last 3 months of pregnancy, while fewer than 5 percent of non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic mothers reported doing so (1.8 and 3.6 percent, respectively). Smoking in the last 3 months of pregnancy also varied by maternal education, and was least common (2.0 percent) among mothers with at least 16 years of education. This behavior also tends to be more common among younger mothers: among 20-to 24-year-old women, 17.8 percent reported smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy, compared to 6.1 percent among women aged 35 years and older (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

Due to awareness of the neonatal health consequences of smoking, pregnancy may be a period of heightened motivation to quit. In 2009–2010, 52.9 percent of recent mothers who reported smoking in the 3 months prior to pregnancy had not smoked in the last 3 months of pregnancy. Prenatal smoking cessation increased with maternal education, ranging from 39.1 percent of mothers with less than 12 years of education to 80.0 percent of mothers with at least 16 years of education. Non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic mothers had the highest rates of perinatal smoking cessation at 74.0 and 71.6 percent, respectively, as compared to mothers of all other racial and ethnic groups (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). In addition to clinical screening and counseling,3 increases in state tobacco taxes and smoke-free laws have been shown to improve prenatal smoking cessation.4

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010. Accessed: 06/20/12.

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing Smoking and Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Before, During, and After Pregnancy. Retrieved: 09/13/13.

3 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Counseling and Interventions to Prevent Tobacco Use and Tobacco-Caused Disease in Adults and Pregnant Women: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement. Ann Intern Med 2009;150:551-55.

4 Adams EK, Markowitz S, Kannan V, Dietz PM, Tong VT, Malarcher AM. Reducing prenatal smoking: the role of state policies. Am J Prev Med. 2012 Jul;43(1):34-40.

Back to top

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

Cigarette Smoking graph

This image is described in the Data section.

Smoking Cessation graph

Data

Cigarette Smoking in the Last 3 Months of Pregnancy, by Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2010*

Percent of Recent Mothers:

  • Non-Hispanic White 15.3
  • Non-Hispanic Black 10.2
  • Hispanic 3.6
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 26.3
  • Non-Hispanic Asian 1.8
  • Non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander 11.8
  • Non-Hispanic Multiple Race 1.8
  • Total 11.6

*Includes data from a total of 30 states and New York City; 25 states contributed both years. Mothers completed surveys between 2 and 9 months postpartum.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2009-2010. Analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Smoking Cessation During Pregnancy,* by Maternal Education, 2009-2010**

Percent of Recent Mothers:

  • Less Than 12 Years 39.1
  • 12 Years 48.1
  • 13-15 Years 58.5
  • 16 Years or More 80.0
  • Total 52.9

*Defined as the proportion of mothers who reported not smoking in the last 3 months of pregnancy among those who reported smoking in the three months prior to pregnancy.

**Includes data from a total of 30 states and New York City; 25 states contributed both years. Mothers completed surveys between 2 and 9 months postpartum.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2009-2010. Analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.