Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Health
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Medical notes 
Background Briefings 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 22:03 GMT
Pregnant women ignore tobacco warning

generic pregnant Researchers say more young women are smoking during pregnancy


By Graham Easton of BBC Science

Many women in the US are not giving up smoking when they become pregnant despite concerted health campaigns and a general decline in the number of women smokers across the country, researchers have shown.

They say that the findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, should alert other countries that it is more effective to prevent people from starting smoking than to try to help them give up.
Tobacco wars
  • The US legal battle
  • Tobacco economics
  • Smoking goes global
  • Cigarette health file
  • Timeline: the tobacco war


  • The researchers from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta surveyed nearly 200,000 women of childbearing age between 1987 and 1996.

    They found that there was a significant drop in the number of women smokers over the 10-year period.

    But what worries the researchers is that from their analysis, the drop was due to fewer women starting smoking and not women giving up when they were expecting a baby.

    In fact the number of young women smoking during pregnancy is on the increase.

    New strategy

    Pregnancy is often seen as one of the most effective times to give up cigarettes.

    There is ample evidence of the damage smoking can do to the foetus; it can interfere with normal growth, increase the risks of miscarriage, and bring on premature birth.

    So the fact that women often do not give up when they become pregnant underlines the addictive nature of cigarettes.

    The researchers think their findings should alert other countries to the difficulties of combating the epidemic of tobacco addiction - especially developing nations in which tobacco marketing efforts and smoking are on the increase.

    What is needed, they say, is a broad-based approach to dissuade young people from starting smoking in the first place.

    That would include taxing tobacco, introducing anti-smoking policies and restricting tobacco advertising.

    And, they say, if women just cannot give up smoking during pregnancy, they should at least try to cut down
    Search BBC News Online

    Advanced search options
    Launch console
    BBC RADIO NEWS
    BBC ONE TV NEWS
    WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
    PROGRAMMES GUIDE

    See also:
    19 Nov 99 |  Medical notes
    Smoking: The health effects
    15 Oct 99 |  Americas
    The US tobacco wars
    24 Apr 99 |  Americas
    Marlboro Man bites the dust
    20 Oct 99 |  Americas
    Tobacco industry faces $500bn payout

    Internet links:

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
    Links to other Health stories are at the foot of the page.


    E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Health stories