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Arch Fam Med. 1994 Oct;3(10):875-8.

Passive smoke and low birth weight. Evidence of a threshold effect.

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  • 1Department of Family Practice, University of Kentucky, Lexington.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relationship between different levels of maternal passive tobacco smoke exposure and low-birth-weight infants.

DESIGN:

Data from the National Health Interview Survey were analyzed.

PARTICIPANTS:

Women who did not smoke during pregnancy and gave birth to children within 6 years of the date of the interview in 1988 were the source of the data (N = 3253). Passive smoke exposure was categorized as very low, low, moderate, and high.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Low-birth-weight (< 2500 g) infants and mean birth weight in grams.

RESULTS:

There was no significant difference in the rates of low birth weights when passive smoke exposure was dichotomized as no exposure vs some exposure (5.0% vs 5.6%, respectively; P = .55). However, when the level of exposure to passive smoke was considered as a continuum, high exposure was associated with both lower mean birth weights in grams (P = .007) and a greater likelihood of a low birth weight (P = .01), indicating a threshold effect of exposure. Logistic regression analysis indicated that, after controlling for potentially confounding variables, individuals with high exposure are 1.57 times (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98 to 2.51) as likely as those with low exposure to have a low-birth-weight infant. Among nonwhites, individuals with high exposure to passive smoke were 2.31 times (95% CI, 1.06 to 4.99) as likely to have a low-birth-weight infant as those with low exposure to passive smoke.

CONCLUSION:

A threshold effect of exposure to passive smoke and low birth weight was discovered.

PMID:
8000558
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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