Tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy: an investigative survey of women in 9 developing nations.

Am J Public Health. 2008 Oct;98(10):1833-40. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.117887. Epub 2008 Feb 28.
Bloch M, Althabe F, Onyamboko M, Kaseba-Sata C, Castilla EE, Freire S, Garces AL, Parida S, Goudar SS, Kadir MM, Goco N, Thornberry J, Daniels M, Bartz J, Hartwell T, Moss N, Goldenberg R
Tobacco Control Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, Executive Plaza North, Room 4038, 6130 E

OBJECTIVES: We examined pregnant women’s use of cigarettes and other tobacco products and the exposure of pregnant women and their young children to secondhand smoke (SHS) in 9 nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

METHODS: Face-to-face surveys were administered to 7961 pregnant women (more than 700 per site) between October 2004 and September 2005.

RESULTS: At all Latin American sites, pregnant women commonly reported that they had ever tried cigarette smoking (range: 78.3% [Uruguay] to 35.0% [Guatemala]). The highest levels of current smoking were found in Uruguay (18.3%), Argentina (10.3%), and Brazil (6.1%). Experimentation with smokeless tobacco occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and India; one third of all respondents in Orissa, India, were current smokeless tobacco users. SHS exposure was common: between 91.6% (Pakistan) and 17.1% (Democratic Republic of the Congo) of pregnant women reported that smoking was permitted in their home.

CONCLUSIONS: Pregnant women’s tobacco use and SHS exposure are current or emerging problems in several low- and middle-income nations, jeopardizing ongoing efforts to improve maternal and child health.

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