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Am J Epidemiol. 1986 Oct;124(4):633-42.

Association of low birth weight with passive smoke exposure in pregnancy.


In a prospective study of 3,891 antenatal patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital between 1980 and 1982, one fourth (23.6%) had not smoked cigarettes during pregnancy but had been exposed to sidestream smoke for at least two hours per day. Among the nonsmokers, passive smoke exposure was significantly related to delivering a low birth weight (less than 2,500 g) newborn. This relation only occurred in term (greater than or equal to 37 weeks) deliveries. Compared with unexposed women, the relative risk of low birth weight after adjustment for confounding factors was 2.17 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05-4.50). Those exposed to passive smoke delivered infants 24 g lighter on average. There was no additive effect of passive smoking on smokers themselves. Repeating the analysis on all women with term deliveries, therefore, resulted in a slightly diminished risk of low birth weight due to passive smoking of 1.52 (95% CI = 0.90-2.56). The risk of low birth weight at term due to direct cigarette smoking was 3.54 (95% CI = 1.62-7.71). Gestational age was unrelated to passive smoking, which appears to exert its effect primarily through growth retardation in term newborns.

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