Nicotine exposure during pregnancy 'much higher than previously thought'

11 July 2016

A new study has offered evidence that more women may be exposed to nicotine during pregnancy than previously thought.

Led by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the researchers studied 708 women who gave birth at a single maternity hospital in south-west Ohio between March 2014 and August 2015.

High-level nicotine exposure was seen in 16.5 per cent of women in the study, with low-level exposure reported by an additional 7.5 per cent. Only 8.6 per cent admitted to using cigarettes.

As such, it was suggested that the tools researchers use to estimate nicotine use do not accurately capture all means of nicotine exposure, including e-cigarettes. An additional 7.5 per cent of women tested positive for secondhand smoke during pregnancy, meaning nearly one in four women was exposed to smoke.

Dr Jim Greenberg, director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said: "We have long suspected that smoking status during pregnancy is under-reported, but now we know just how many women struggle to quit smoking when they are pregnant."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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